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Tourism comeback in 2014

For local tourism, 2014 is emerging as the best year in seven years. Occupancy statistics so far indicate a 5% higher occupancy rate than 2008, which was until now regarded as the bumper year in Namibia tourism. The quarterly and annual room & bed occupancy statistics report compiled by the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) reveals that the Namibian tourism accommodation industry experienced a growth of some 9% in room sales last year, compared to 2013.

In 2014, the annual average occupancy rates finally exceeded the 50% threshold again, – reaching some 57,4%, based on submissions received from HAN members. The last time Namibian accommodation properties recorded an annual occupancy of more than 50% was in 2008, when the average occupancy reached 52.35%, up 3% from 2007. From 2009, Namibian tourism figures gradually declined from just over 47% in 2009 to 46% in 2010, and hitting rock-bottom of only 40,5% in 2011. Since then, Namibia tourism has seen a steady growth in accommodation occupancies, reaching 46% in 2012, and in 2013, the year of international events, recorded an average annual occupancy of 48,7%.HAN said this week, the record jump of 9% from one year to the next can be ascribed to a number of reasons citing the growing international exposure through major international conferences, and more media attention on conservation and conservancy developments. “NTB Frankfurt has over the years also managed to develop extremely effective and lucrative strategic partnerships with major brands and companies in Europe, from Land Rover to Samsonite, – during which Namibia was exposed as travel destination of choice.” When looking at the source markets of the visitors, it is interesting to note, that while in 2008, some 25% of all guests were Namibians, this number has increased to an impressive 37% last year, – proof that the local tourism marketing campaign seems to be bearing fruit. The German market still remains Namibia’s biggest source market, with more than one of every five guests coming from either Germany, Austria or Switzerland. “South Africa brings in some 12% of guests registered at accommodation establishments. Figures from the USA seem to have remained steady at just over 2% of the total share, – as it is believed that the results of North American Destination Marketing campaign will only start kicking in now, while ATWS 2013 put Namibia into global focus, not only in the US, where ATTA is based.” HAN said the opinion of some operators and tourism service providers, is that tourism will keep growing, with great interest and good forward bookings received for the coming year.
“The strength of the US Dollar may have an added positive influence on travel to Namibia, – while there seems to be a little bit of concern about the falling trend of the Euro just recently, which service providers and agents are monitoring closely.The Namibian operators are however entering the current tourism trade fair season with great optimism and many attractive new products and packages Namibia has to offer.

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