Namibia’s tourism sector walking on thin ice

The index for beds occupancy rate declined by 3.4% in May 2021 on monthly basis, downward from a growth rate of 38.6% recorded in April 2021.

30 July 2021 | Economics

Although domestic tourists are attracted by special offers, this does not contribute meaningfully to an increase in value addition, which is the basis for the calculation of economic growth. Simonis Storm (SS)

PHILLEPUS UUSIKU

Due to limitations to the number of people at gatherings, reduced opening hours for restaurants and bars and moreover travel restrictions, the tourism sector contracted by 12.0% in the first quarter of 2021, Simonis Storm (SS) stated in their quarterly report.

In the first quarter of 2020, the tourism sector recorded a negative growth of 15.0%.

According to the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), the index for regional and international arrivals recorded a monthly growth rate of 9.5% in May 2021 downward from a growth rate of 19.8% registered in April 2021. On an annual basis, the number of passengers arriving in Namibia increased significantly from 298 passengers recorded a year earlier to 12 668 passengers registered during the period under review.

The index for regional and international departures registered a monthly growth rate of 18.6 %during the period under review, when compared to a growth rate of 25.4% recorded in April 2021.

On annual basis, the index recorded a huge increase of passengers to 13 073 passengers from 193 passengers recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.

The increase recorded year-on-year in the departures were mainly attributed to the relaxation in travel restrictions across the world as countries move closer to herd immunity against Covid-19, NSA said.

ROOM OCCUPANCY

The index for rooms occupancy rate declined by 10.1% in May 2021 on monthly basis, downward from a growth rate of 50.6% recorded in the preceding month. However, the index recorded a growth rate of 397.7% year-on-year.

The increase registered year-on-year was due to relaxation in restrictions on some of the prevailing measures for Covid-19 rules that were in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19.

The index for beds occupancy rate declined by 3.4% in May 2021 on monthly basis, downward from a growth rate of 38.6% recorded in April 2021. On annual basis, the index increased by 335.7%, NSA pointed out.

The increase observed year-on-year, reflects on the tourism revival initiatives for Namibia that are in place such as marketing promotion for Namibia being a very safe place for holidaymakers despite fresh surge of cases worldwide due to the Covid-19 pandemic, NSA said.

SUMMER

Simonis Storm added that although arrival numbers of international tourists at the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) have steadily increased to 5 089 in May 2021, they are well below arrivals during May in previous years that hovered around 19 000.

“While we initially expected tourism to pick up again with the beginning of the northern hemisphere’s summer break in July, the current developments cast doubts over a significant increase in the number of international tourists,” SS added.

This will have impacts on sectors beyond the hospitality sector, namely on transport, business services and retail trade. Although domestic tourists are attracted by special offers, this does not contribute meaningfully to an increase in value addition, which is the basis for the calculation of economic growth, SS [email protected]

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