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UP: International tourism is recovering despite challenges. Photo: NWR
UP: International tourism is recovering despite challenges. Photo: NWR

International tourism continues recovery amid challenges

Tourism recovery gathers steam
After a severe decline in tourism following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Namibia recorded 270 644 foreign arrivals in 2021, an almost 50% increase from the 192 026 in the previous year.
Ellanie Smit
International tourism continues to show signs of a strong and steady recovery from the impact of the pandemic - despite significant mounting economic and geopolitical challenges.

According to the latest World Tourism Barometer by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), international tourism saw a strong rebound in the first five months of 2022, with almost 250 million arrivals recorded.

This compares to 77 million arrivals from January to May 2021, and means that the sector has recovered to almost half (46%) of the 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

“The recovery of tourism has gathered pace in many parts of the world, weathering the challenges standing in its way,” UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said.

Meanwhile, he also urged caution in view of economic headwinds and geopolitical challenges which could impact the sector in the remainder of 2022 and beyond.

Expenditure

The tourism report said rising tourism spending out of the major source markets is consistent with the observed recovery.

“International expenditure by tourists from France, Germany, Italy and the United States is now at 70% to 85% of pre-pandemic levels, while spending from India, Saudi Arabia and Qatar has already exceeded 2019 levels.”

However, stronger than expected demand has created significant operational and workforce challenges, while the war in Ukraine, rising inflation and interest rates, as well as fears of an economic slowdown continue to pose a risk to recovery, it said.

The International Monetary Fund pointed to a global economic slowdown from 6.1% in 2021 to 3.2% in 2022 and then to 2.9% in 2023.

The organisation added that in Africa and the Middle East, arrivals could reach about 50% to 70% of pre-pandemic levels, while in Asia and the Pacific they will remain at 30% of 2019 levels in the best-case scenario due to stricter policies and restrictions.

Namibian arrivals

Furthermore, recent statistics indicate that after a severe decline in tourism following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Namibia recorded 270 644 foreign arrivals in 2021, a substantial increase of 40.9% from the 192 026 in the previous year.

The number of tourists who visited Namibia increased to 232 756 in 2021, up 37.3% from the previous year’s 169 565 visitors.

The report indicated that of the 270 644 foreign arrivals Namibia received last year, tourist arrivals accounted for 86% of that total, followed by same-day visitors at 10.6%, while returning visitors accounted for 0.9% and other categories accounted for 2% and 1.5% respectively.

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Namibian Sun 2022-11-27

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