Tourism stats one year late but momentum was maintained in 2017
Tourism to Namibia continues to develop as shown by the arrival figures for 2017.
Released on Thursday by the tourism minister, Hon Pohamba Shifeta, the 2017 visitors statistics show that the total number of foreign arrivals was 1,608,018, and increase of 2.2% compared to 2016.
Some 1.5 million visitors or just more than 93% of all arrivals, are bona fide tourists. Just over 400,000 came from overseas with the rest coming from the region. The top 10 markets in 2017 were Angola, South Africa, Zambia, Germany, Zimbabwe, Botswana, United Kingdom, France, USA and Switzerland.
Arrivals from Angola increased by 1.1% to just over one million people while arrivals from South Africa dipped by nearly 5%. Only 24% of African visitors came to Namibia on holiday with the bulk, 56%, visiting family and friends. However, of the overseas tourists, the vast majority, 78%, came for holiday.
Arrivals from Germany continued to grow even after the record growth of 2016. Some 123,000 Germans chose Namibia as their holiday destination in 2017. Arrivals from Austria and Switzerland also showed healthy growth.
The United Kingdom remained Namibia’s second biggest European feeder market but the numbers are modest compared to the German arrivals. Nevertheless, all markets increased in numbers except the Netherlands and Portugal.
With only 14,000 Chinese visiting, the contribution from Asia remains negligible. In contrast, from the United States and Canada came almost 40,000 visitors. Surprisingly, the number of visitors form the United Arab Emirates and from Brazil also showed solid growth.
Most tourists travelled to Namibia in July in 2017 (154,368). European tourists particularly favoured July and October. Across all markets, the average trip covered 19 days.
“We are delighted that Namibia was able to achieve such positive growth again in 2017,” said Tourism Board Chief Executive, Digu //Naobeb. “The strategic marketing and PR work of the Namibia Tourism Board and the dedication of our Namibian and international partners have helped not only maintain the high level of 2016 but also build on it further.”
“In the future we are looking to attract international visitors to lesser-known regions of the country as well to provide some relief for the well-booked main routes,” he said adding that the goal is to maintain the boutique character of the country while protecting its natural resources.