Hope for the Tourism Sector as Namibia Records Growth in Tourist Arrivals
Optimism all around as Pohamba Shifeta, Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism announced a 37.3 increase in Namibia tourism arrivals in 2021 compared to 2020.
Shifeta, launched the Tourism Arrival Statistics for 2021 on 25 July 2022 in a press conference attended by the media and stakeholders in tourism. The report indicates that foreign arrivals into Namibia increased by 40.9% from the total of 192,026 arrivals in 2020 to 270,644 arrivals in 2021. On the other hand, tourist arrivals had a substantial growth of 37.3% from 169,565 in 2020 to 232,756 in 2021..
The Minister expressed optimism by saying the increase is significant and commendable considering the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the sector. He noted that the years 2020 and 2021 were devastating for the tourism sector. “If things stay the same, we are likely to reach a million tourist arrivals or close in 2022, the onlook is promising, Shifeta stressed. Similarly, Gitta Paetzold, CEO of the Hospitality Association of Namibia says the report is encouraging as it reflects the steady tourism recovery Namibia experienced since September 2020. “It is envisaged, given the current status quo in the industry, that the rise will even be steeper for 2022″. Paetzold adds..
Shifeta revealed further that, the report indicates that South African dominated the African source markets followed by Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana respectively. On the other hand, German is leading the overseas arrivals followed by France, Switzerland, United States of America and the United Kingdom. The Minister further says, the period between October and December remains Namibia’s pick season with 41.8% of the arrivals recorded in that time..
“Although the number of tourist arrivals is not at the level it was before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, an increase such as this gives us an improved hope that the sector is on its way to recovery”. Shifeta noted. He adds that, the growth in tourist numbers indicates that confidence is slowly raising that Namibia is a safe destination for travel and tourism post Covid-19. Minister Shifeta says, the Ministry has developed a Tourism Recovery Plan that sets out a framework for tourism sector recovery process for the next three years. Equally, the Ministry is implementing the 6th edition of the Tourism Satellite Account with the support of UNECA to strengthen data collection and analytics. .
Shifeta called on the sector to use the covid 19 experience to move from the heavy reliant of international travellers to equally focussing and prioritising domestic tourism to minimize undesirable influences from crises such as those brought about by global pandemics.