Overall occupancy of 53% in 2019 welcomed by hospitality association
The Hospitality Association of Namibia’s CEO, Gitta Paetzold welcomed the slow growth of 53.5% in 2019 from 2018’s 52.55% recorded in the tourism accommodation sector saying it is still good news given the generally negative perception by Southern African tourism stakeholders during the past year.
Paetzold stressed the current performance is seen as positive, given the remarkable increase in availability on the market through new facilities and the prevalence of unregistered online offerings for accommodation.
Namibia’s tourism accommodation facilities have last seen 60% occupancy in 2016, however, Paetzold expressed delight that a 30% increase in submission of occupancy reports could be achieved from its members during 2019.
While for years, Namibia has been battling with high seasonality in tourism, most of the visitors coming to Namibia from July to October, 2019 for the first time seems to see a slight reverse in this trend, – with a remarkable increase of 6% in occupancy during the second quarter, (April to June), and 2% increase in the first quarter, both of which compensated for the slight decline in occupancy in the traditional high season, (July-October).
“This may be an indication, that Namibia is slowly but surely establishing itself as an “all year round” travel destination,” Paetzold said.
Furthermore, according to the Hospitality Association’s statistics, leisure travel remains the main purpose of visit of those frequenting hotels, lodges, guest houses, camps and other accommodation facilities throughout the country. The market has increased by some 3% during 2019.
However, the business and conference sector, both showed a decline in 2019, a clear indication that organisations and businesses are struggling.
“The decline in business and conference is an indication of struggling businesses and a challenge for Foreign Direct Investment, as it would mean a generally lower appetite of investment in tourism,” the Association’s Chairman Shepherd Chinhoi said.
Key leisure travel markets for Namibia remain Central Europe, with Germany, Austria and Switzerland again the highest, representing almost 30% of all occupancies, with an additional 12% from the Benelux, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
Meanwhile, the South African market filled some 8% of the accommodation, while Namibians are also showing increasing appetite for travel through their country, with over 26% of rooms occupied by Namibians last year.
“The recent outbreak of the Coronavirus in China and its effects on the international travel sector is case in point of how fast the tourism industry can be impacted, – and it is vital that everyone keeps focus on facts to ensure that we do not fall victim of false information and panic reactions, which could be detrimental to tourism,” Paetzold said.
In June the Association will hold its annual Congress with a focus on the scope and potential of developing the Tsau //Khaeb National Park in southern Namibia, and together with the Ministry of Environment & Tourism and the Namibia Tourism Board, will look at ways to carefully open up the former “Sperrgebiet” for some very special and unique tourism experiences.