Tourism sector recorded slight growth in 2019

12 August 2020 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



Namibia recorded a 1.5% increase in tourism figures last year, with foreign arrivals up from 1.65 million in 2018 to 1.68 million in 2019.

The number of tourists who visited Namibia in 2019 increased to 1.59 million from 1.55 million the previous year, which is an increase of 2.5%.

This was announced by tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta at the launch of the Tourist Statistical Report for 2019.

The report indicates that of the 1.68 million foreign arrivals in Namibia last year, tourists accounted for 94.9% of the total, followed by same-day visitors at 3.3%, while returning visitors accounted for 1.4% and other categories for 0.4%.

Slow growth

The report noted that apart from the slight increase recorded in 2019, the average growth over the last four years (2015 to 2018) has been modest at below 4%.

“The slow growth may be attributed to various global factors such as the world financial crisis and due to limited marketing efforts.

“This could be attributed to fact that source markets had reached their peak and that Namibia should venture into new potential markets such as the Asian, Australian and Middle Eastern markets,” it said.



Angolans dominate

The report says that over the years, the foreign arrivals figure had been dominated by travellers from Angola, mainly coming to Namibia for medical reasons, shopping and visiting family and friends. In 2019, Angolan travellers made up 36.1% (664 077) of the total foreign arrivals in Namibia.

Travellers from Brazil and Russia were the lowest, amounting to 0.2% (4 395) and 0.3% (4 622) respectively.

The report adds that tourist arrivals had been forecast to increase by 3.4% in 2020 but the coronavirus pandemic put paid to that.

The tourist arrivals were dominated by visitors from Angola (563 978), South Africa (276 188), Zambia (238 526), Germany (97 111) and Zimbabwe (78 966).

Analysing the tourist arrivals by purpose of visit, business tourists increased from 191 613 in 2018 to 197 123 last year.

Those visiting friends and family increased from 795 150 to 811 253, while tourists who came for holiday purposes decreased 1.1% to 535 458 last year.

The report adds that out of the total, tourist arrivals visiting friends and family accounted for 60.9%, followed by holiday tourists at 21.2%, business travellers at 14.4% and others of at 3.6%.

According to the report, African travellers stayed on average four to seven days in Namibia, compared to European and North American travellers who spent an average eight to 14 days.

Arrivals from Europe decreased by 16.4% to 213 654, while visitors from other African countries increased by 7.5% to 1.34 million last year.

The majority of tourists entered Namibia by road (54.1%), while 42.8% preferred air travel.

South African Airways brought in 41.8% of travellers by air in 2019, followed by Air Namibia at 37.8% and British Airways with 5.5%.

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