Namibian tourism shows consistency

Destination of choice

02 March 2020 | Tourism

Shepherd Chinhoi; Chairman of HAN; “A decline in business and conferencing is an indication of struggling businesses...”

Swakopmund • Contributed

The Hospitality Association of Namibia’s (HAN) tourism accommodation statistics report for 2019 shows 1% growth on 2018, with 53.5% overall occupancy enjoyed by locally registered tourism accommodation establishments last year.

This comes in the midst of subdued performance and a general negative perception by Southern African tourism stakeholders during the past year.

HAN has been processing tourism accommodation occupancy statistics since 2000. The 60% occupancy peak of 2016 enjoyed by Namibian tourism accommodation enterprises could not be reached since then.

However, the current performance is seen as positive, given the remarkable increase in availability of new facilities and the prevalence of unregistered online offerings for accommodation on the market.

A 30% increase in submission of occupancy reports was achieved from HAN members during 2019. This makes the HAN tourism accommodation report even more representative of the travel and leisure industry in Namibia.

While Namibia has been battling with high seasonality in tourism for years, with most visitors coming to the country from July to October, a slight reverse in this trend for 2019 seems to be the case for the first time.

There has been a remarkable increase of 6% in occupancy during the second quarter, (April to June), and a 2% increase in the first quarter, both of which compensated for the slight decline in occupancy in the traditional high season, (July to October).

This may be an indication that Namibia is slowly but surely establishing itself as an “all year round” travel destination.

According to the report, leisure travel remains the main purpose of visits of those frequenting hotels, lodges, guest houses, camps and other accommodation facilities throughout the country.

Occupancy from the leisure travel market increased by 3% last year. This helped to slightly compensate 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.

“A decline in business and conferencing is an indication of struggling businesses and a challenge for foreign direct investment, as it would mean a generally lower appetite of investment in tourism,” said HAN chairman Shepherd Chinhoi.

It is therefore all the more important for Namibia to maintain focus on the leisure tourism segment, as 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 the highest again, representing almost 30% of all occupancies, with an additional 12% from the Benelux, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

The South African market filled 8% of accommodation availed through HAN members, while Namibians are also showing an increasing appetite for travel in their country, with over 26% of rooms occupied by Namibians last year.

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