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Positive 2017 outlook for tourism industry

The tourism industry this year promises to be positive, if not better, with a high demand for tourism services currently processed by tourism operators, according to Hospitality Association of Namibia, CEO, Gitta Paetzold.

Paetzold this week said that the country’s tourism industry last year experienced one of the best results in over a decade, with tourism accommodation properties recording nearly 60% occupancy across the country and throughout the year.

“The coastal region even exceeded the overall average, fairing the best of all regions, with accommodation on average over 62 percent filled in 2016,” he added.

According to him the results recorded for January this year already show a further increase in comparison to the same period last year. The month of January is usually seen as Namibia’s low season in tourism, but this year it had an average occupancy of over 45%.

“This trend is of particular importance for the country at a time, when other economic sectors, be it fishing, agriculture or mining to some extent, experience difficulties,” he explained.

Paetzold said that the country’s tourism industry is fully geared to meet the demands and growing interest of the international travel market in the southern African region and is looking forward to equal or even better results in the coming months.

Despite a positive outlook for the tourism industry, Paetzold however said they are fully aware that outside influences may easily affect its performance.

“Alarming reports of rising crime levels and in particular the brutal armed robberies at guest houses and sites frequented by tourists at the coast recently may destroy Namibia’s opportunity to become the most desirable tourism destination in Africa by the end of this year,” he said.

According to him, safety and security are key to prosperity and HAN would like to urge NAMPOL, the Namibia Tourism Board, the Ministry of Environment & Tourism and all relevant government authorities to ensure that the environment, both in terms of nature and safety, remains conducive for tourism growth and prosperity.

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