Tourism levies take N$25m nosedive

Tourism is depressed globally as a result of travel restrictions and lockdowns to contain the spread of Covid-19, the NTB CEO said.

01 June 2021 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT and JEMIMA BEUKES







WINDHOEK

Tourism levies, the primary source income for the Namibian Tourism Board (NTB), declined from more than N$33.7 million in 2019 to slightly over N$8 million last year.

The levies made up 85% of NTB’s income in 2020, while it also received a grant of N$3 million from government.

This is according to the CEO of NTB Digu //Naobeb, who this weekend delivered a presentation on the tourism sector’s recovery plan and the upcoming United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) regional conference to be hosted in Windhoek.

//Naobeb said tourism is depressed globally as a result of travel restrictions and lockdowns to contain the spread of Covid-19.

According to him, the key critical factor continues to be the ever-escalating infections at the back of the third wave of the virus.

He said vaccination seems to be the answer for tourism recovery around the world; however, there is no consensus with regards to a vaccination passport as each nation continues to work in isolation.

Misinformation thwarts efforts

“Vaccination efforts are also thwarted due to an array of misinformation and disinformation and human rights that are enshrined in constitutions giving the choice to vaccinate or not.”

He stressed that there is a need for co-ordinated efforts to have balanced Covid-19 regulations.

//Naobeb said although Namibia has relaxed travel restrictions, it is yielding results at a slow pace.

According to him, this is because the country’s international source markets such as Germany, Italy and the UK have imposed strict restrictions.

Meanwhile, air access is still severely curtailed.

“Air Namibia was liquidated; SAA is under business rescue; KLM and Qatar withdrew flights from Namibia.”

He said Namibia is, therefore, only serviced by European Airlines and Eurowings directly on international routes and regionally by West Air and SA Airlink.

Domestic tourism

The CEO further said domestic tourism, on the other hand, is too small and cannot sustain the tourism industry all year as this market segment is more versatile for weekend travelling and school holidays, while local business tourism has also been subdued.

But all is not gloom and doom, he said.

“There is a good appetite for investment in the sector with 69 new regulated tourism business and 53 accommodation businesses that were registered with NTB between April 2020 and 2021.

A total of 5 309 businesses were registered with NTB this year compared to 5 187 last year.

Plans in full swing

//Naobeb added that NTB’s plans to host the UNTWO regional conference in Windhoek on ‘strengthening brand Africa for the swift recovery of the tourism sector’ is in full swing, with senior officials from eight countries who have confirmed attendance.

The main aim of the event is to leverage tourism as a cross-cutting sector with high impact on national and regional branding to enhance the image of African destinations as the building blocks of the overall image of Africa.

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