Domestic tourism to drive sector’s recovery

‘Staycation’ trend may not last

14 September 2021 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

Domestic tourism offers the main chance for driving recovery in the sector, although all subsectors like the high-end fly-in safaris and tour operations will not greatly benefit from it due to limited market size and affordability.

This according to tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta, who - at the launch of a domestic tourism campaign to the tune of N$2.3 million this weekend in Swakopmund - said the campaign highlights quality local destinations, visitor attractions and experiences on offer across Namibia to build back demand for domestic travel.

He said on average, seven to 10% occupancy was witnessed in the third and fourth quarter of last year according to Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) levy returns data.

The average occupancy for quarter one and two in 2021 increased to 10 to 15%.

“Of that, about 70 to 80% of these average occupancies were driven by domestic tourists.”

Shifeta said due to the prevailing Covid-19 conditions, some people choose to stay closer to home.

“This is good news, and while I hope that the staycation trend will continue and spread to more places within Namibia, we cannot expect this level of demand to persist.”

Anchor

He added that domestic tourism will continue to serve as an anchor in reviving Namibia’s economy.

NTB chairperson Madelein /Gôagoses said the tourism and hospitality sectors have faced unprecedented challenges over the past year due to the pandemic.

She said while the airline industry is preparing itself for a return to business as usual in the very near future, not all travellers may be ready to book their next flight quite so soon.

According to her, tourists will have doubts regarding travelling internationally, hence promotional activity should concentrate on domestic and regional tourism.

/Gôagoses said it is for this reason that NTB adopted a strategy to promote the domestic tourism campaign drive vigorously.

The campaign is comprised of three TV adverts which will be translated and aired on various radio stations in local languages. It will further be supported on social media platforms to ensure wider overage.

The production shooting was done at Gross Barmen Resort, Popa Falls, Etosha National Park and at the coast. This campaign will run from September to March 2022. It shall be refreshed in January 2022 to shift focus to the Easter holiday season.

“During this phase, we will try to profile other regions depending on funds permitting,” /Gôagoses said.

Explore Namibia

The campaign was funded by KfW, through the Namparks funding initiative, while support was also given by Namibian Wildlife Resorts and Gondwana Collections, who hosted the NBC crew for free during production.

“We are imploring the Namibia populace to start planning for the upcoming festive season. Explore Namibia by visiting museums, cultural exhibitions or galleries, be active in adrenalin activities or just be immersed in peaceful and tranquil nature, or enjoy first-rate hospitality.

“I encourage everyone to get out there to explore our wonderful country and support domestic tourism,” /Gôagoses said.