Tourist accommodation statistics for 2019 show a slight 1% growth in 2018, with 53.5% overall occupancy enjoyed by Namibian-registered establishments during last year.
Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) CEO Gitta Paetzold said this was great news, given the subdued performance and generally negative perception by southern African tourism stakeholders during the past year.
HAN has been processing tourism accommodation occupancy statistics since 2000. Paetzold said while the peak of 2016, during which Namibian tourism accommodation enterprises enjoyed an almost 60% occupancy rate, could not be reached since, the current performance is seen as positive, given the remarkable increase in availability on the market through new facilities and the prevalence of unregistered online offerings for accommodation.
HAN is also delighted about the fact that a 30% increase in submission of occupancy reports could be achieved from its members during 2019, making its tourism accommodation report even more representative of the status quo of the travel and leisure industry in Namibia.
For years, Namibia has been battling with high seasonality in tourism, most of the visitors coming to Namibia in July to October.
However, during 2019 for the first time, it seems to see a slight reverse in this trend, with a remarkable increase of 6% in occupancy during the second quarter, (April to June), and a 2% increase in the first quarter.
Paetzold said both compensated for the slight decline in occupancy in the traditionally high season (July-October).
“This may be an indication that Namibia is slowly but surely establishing itself as an ‘all year round’ travel destination,” she said.
According to the HAN report, leisure travel remains the main purpose of the visit of those frequenting hotels, lodges, guesthouses, camps and other accommodation facilities throughout the country.
Hence, Paetzold maintained it is pleasing to note that occupancy from the leisure travel market increased by some 3% last year.
This, she says, helped compensate a little for the decline in the business and conference sector, which both showed a decline in 2019, a clear indication that organisations and businesses are struggling.
HAN chairman Shepherd Chinhoi said that the decline in the business and conference sector is an indication of struggling businesses and a challenge for foreign direct investment, as it would mean a generally lower appetite for investment in tourism.
Chinhoi said it is, therefore, all the more important for Namibia to maintain focus on the leisure tourism segment, as a key contributor to income generation and growth in the tourism sector.
Key leisure travel markets for Namibia remain Central Europe, with Germany, Austria and Switzerland again the highest, representing almost 30% of all occupancies, with an additional 12% from the Benelux, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
The South African market filled some 8% of the accommodation availed through HAN members, while Namibians are also showing an increasing appetite for travel through their country, with over 26% of rooms occupied by Namibians last year.
While the Namibian tourism industry has shown steady performance over the past years, Paetzold says HAN and its members are fully aware of the volatile and heavily competitive environment tourism, in general, operates in.
Commenting on the global coronavirus outbreak, Paetzold said it is vital that everyone keeps focusing on facts to ensure that people do not fall victim to false information and panic reactions, which could be detrimental to tourism.
In June, HAN will host a congress that will focus on the scope and potential of developing the Tsau //Khaeb National Park in southern Namibia.
Through combined and concerted efforts of tourism stakeholders in Namibia, HAN is convinced that the Namibian leisure tourism industry has the potential to keep growing and retain its role as a key pillar of the Namibian economy. – firstname.lastname@example.org
2020-02-28 06:37:42 | 4 months ago