Tourism skittish, at the same time still strong
Namibia is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination, confirmed by the 2015 visitor statistics that have been published by Pohamba Shifeta, Minister of Environment and Tourism.
Some 1.5 million international visitors travelled to Namibia in 2015, an increase of 5.1 per cent on the previous year. With 91.3 per cent (a total of 1,387,773 individuals), of the travellers being tourists.
Namibia registered 233,717 tourists from Europe – a 5.4 per cent increase in comparison with the previous year and a record number since statistics collection begun. Some 34.8 per cent of European tourists planned to stay in the country for eight to 14 days; 23.9 per cent planned to stay for 15 to 21 days.
Trips from July to November were especially popular among European tourists, with the most popular travel months being August and October. Among tourists from Europe visiting Namibia, the largest group consisted of those between 50 and 60+ years of age.
Maureen Posthuma, area manager for Europe at Namibia Tourism Board, summed up the findings: “There was a positive trend in the numbers of visitors and tourists from Europe overall, particularly in the second half of the year, with record results from Germany and strong growth in some other European markets, such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy.
“Thanks to the commitment of the tourism industry as well as the strategic marketing work of the Namibia Tourism Board, Namibia has succeeded in positioning itself as a competitive, multi-faceted year-round travel destination that offers unforgettable experiences amid nature and the animal kingdom, authentic cultural encounters and a wide range of activities and adventures,” Posthuma said.
Acting CEO of the Zambezi waterfront development, Jerome Mutumba, hopes to see more tourists visit his resort as the the ailing projects crossed the first hurdle in becoming viable again when it received its accreditation as an accommodation establishment from the Namibia Tourism Board.
Creating more similar tourist enterprises that are up to par has received support from the Development Bank of Namibia. Development Bank of Namibia CEO, Martin Inkumbi, believes that there is room for growth particularly in tourism, but that it is also promoting itself to new enterprises which projects an annual turnover of more than N$10 million, and existing enterprises seeking to expand.