Albertina Nakale Windhoek-The Namibian hospitality industry is projected to inject N$26.4 billion in Namibian coffers by the year 2020 through tourism and other related value-added activities and services within the industry. That amount would be equal to 11.7 percent of Namibia’s overall gross domestic product (GDP). Further, the hospitality industry is projected to create 123,000 job opportunities. A bullish Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, yesterday presented the figures on the outlook of the tourism industry during the launch of the fifth edition of the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA). Shifeta says the forecasts in the outlook are consistent with the projected increases in foreign tourist arrivals. The number of tourists to Namibia is expected to jump from 1.39 million tourists in 2015 to more than 1.7 million tourists in 2020. And the overall outlook for the tourism sector over the next four years remains positive and robust. He noted the TSA is significant because it meets a long-standing need of industry and government for an official, credible measure of the contribution tourism makes to the national economy. The TSA fifth edition is based on data that is three years old. “Let us face it — it is difficult to measure the contribution of the tourism industry to the national economy. There are no products crossing national borders, and we cannot follow tourists around the country and monitor every cent they spend. This data reinforces what we already know, and that is the importance of tourism to Namibia,” stressed Shifeta. Currently the TSA is based on the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) methodology, and was initiated by the Namibia Tourism Board. He explained that the TSA allows government to extract meaningful information about the tourism industry, as it aggregates total tourism activity. He added that it would enable the ministry to better understand the dynamic of tourism in the economy and allow for better planning. According to Shifeta, it will ensure that public and private sector decision-making, particularly in the key areas of research and investment, are better informed. The analysis of 2015 showed that tourism directly supported 44,700 jobs, which is equivalent to 6.5 percent of total employment in the country. If one includes the indirect jobs then the number of jobs increases to 100,700 jobs, which represents 14.5 percent of total employment in the country. Shifeta said the industry generated N$7.6 billion, in nominal terms, representing 60 percent of total service exports in Namibia, making tourism Namibia’s largest earning industry. The industry contributed N$5.2 billion directly to GDP, which is equivalent to 3.5 percent of the total GDP. When measured against the broader economy, it contributed N$15.1 billion, representing 10.2 percent of total GDP. Shifeta also explained that the TSA forms part of a much broader programme to improve the information base of the tourism sector. He said one such improvement that culminated from it is that the calculations now reflect the recent migration of Namibia’s balance of payments (B.O.P.) statistics to the latest compilation manual on the International Monetary Fund, which introduced a number of changes to the service account data (including travel spending and transportation) used in the TSA dating back to 2009. Previously, the estimation of the travel component in the B.O.P. relied primarily on real sector indicators such as tourist arrivals and bed occupancy. With the B.O.P. migration, the data sources were expanded to include the transactions reported by the local banks on non-residents as well as service payments made by the government. Shifeta noted that because of these methodological and data changes, the TSA results from 2009 onwards are not comparable with estimates made previously. This was validated by the Bank of Namibia and the National Statistics Agency.
New Era Reporter
2018-01-24 08:56:27 9 months ago