Select Page

Tourist accommodation continued downward trend – informal channels like AirBnB escape official statistics

Tourist accommodation continued downward trend – informal channels like AirBnB escape official statistics

For calendar year 2018, the 120 accommodation establishments that contribute to the Hospitality Association of Namibia’s (HAN) annual industry statistics, registered a decline of 116,676 bednights sold, compared to 2017.

Although the number of HAN members who furnish their in-house statistics grew from 108 to 120, the number of bednights declined from 1.83 million to 1.74 million. 2018 also turned out to be substantially below the bednight average per establishment of 16,000, at just over 14,500.

Releasing its tourist statistics this week, HAN said the overall occupancy rate for 2018 stood at just over 53%, down 4% from 2017 and more than 6% from 2016.

“The revelation that only just over half the regulated commercial rooms on offer in Namibia were occupied during 2018 is reason for concern,” stated the HAN Chief Executive, Ms Gitta Paetzold adding that its members have reported current bookings for 2019 to confirm the trend.

HAN represents over 300 accommodation establishments who are members of the association. 120 of these contributed to the statistics for 2018. Visitor statistics are also collected by the Namibia Tourism Board from the more than 1300 registered establishments in their database.

“HAN has been informed by various sources that while Namibia still seems to rank high in terms of the ratings of best destinations to travel to in 2019, this does not seem to convert into sales, and requests and actual forward bookings for the coming year seem noticeably down, especially with the bigger operators who are responsible for the bulk number of bona fide tourists,” stated the association.

Last year the trend in the first semester was substantially below the same period the previous year. First half booking were then also down between 8% and 9% but the second semester made up for the lag, eventually averaging out at the 4% overall decline.

Naming some of the contributing factors, the association said “Individual and smaller operators seem to enjoy a good flow of incoming requests still but in general there is concern that the booking process for Namibia has become a stumbling block with a number of foreign agents terming Namibia “too difficult to book”, and choosing other destinations in Africa.

Total adspend on tourism promotion is another sore point which the association sees as one of the reasons why tourist numbers to southern Africa are falling while East and central African countries share in the 6% continental growth.

A serious impediment is the cost of travel from Europe to Namibia which has increased from around Euro700 in the 2017 high season, to the current Euro1200. “This increase effectively adds an extra daily cost of over N$1000 per guest for a 12 to 14 day trip,” according to HAN.

Noting that digital informal booking channels are disrupting the status quo, the association fingered AirBnB as another reason why the numbers are shrinking.

Paetzold stated that already more than 500 Namibian properties are listed on AirBnB, the bulk of which is not registered with the Tourism Board as required by law.

“While HAN accepts this phenomenon to be a world trend to be accommodated as a new trend in our industry, it is worrying that most of the properties listed on that platform are still not formally registered as per legal requirements here in Namibia, and thus do not pay general taxes, nor tourism levies, hence presenting unfair competition, while not contributing to the overall tourism promotion activities, nor the national tax base that would allow for general infrastructure development,” it noted.

“What is urgently needed, is a concerted effort by other stakeholders in tourism, apart from the formal, registered accommodation industry, namely car rental, tour operations, airlines and other service providers, to provide statistics, to be able to determine where the shift in business is moving to, as the number of arrivals and departures at Namibian entry points is steadily increasing, as per the Ministry of Environment and Tourism report,” said the HAN Chief Executive.

“We all share the aim to grow tourism to Namibia. It is time to review our ways, revisit our policies and partners, and refresh our product offerings, to ensure that in 2019 and beyond, Namibia not only remains the “most desirable tourism destination”, but becomes the destination most travelled to by those tourists who have appreciation for our country’s pristine environment, its wildlife, its cultural diversity and the endless hidden gems and opportunities,” she concluded.


About The Author

The Staff Reporter

The staff reporter is the most senior in-house Economist reporter. This designation is frequently used by the editor for articles submitted by third parties, especially businesses, but which had to be rewritten completely. - Ed.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.