Second quarter occupancy increases, but still miles away from 2019 levels
The second quarter of 2021 revealed a national average occupancy of just over 23%, higher than the all-time low occupancy of 4.5% seen during the same period last year, the Hospitality Association of Namibia announced this week.
The Hospitality Association noted that while the tourism industry still has a long and hard road ahead to full recovery, the situation seems to slowly be moving out of the deepest and most challenging time of the coronavirus pandemic to date.
The first quarter of 2021 saw occupancy levels increase to 20%, followed by the 23% increase in the second quarter. However, these levels are way lower when compared to almost 54% seen in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So while we are definitely on our way up, the road is long, and hopes for a speedy recovery and positive high season that would have started in July this year, smothered by the current high-risk status imposed on Namibia in terms of international travel advisory. This negative status resulted in huge losses of millions of dollars in potential business through cancellations of planned travels to Namibia for the period July-September,” Gitta Paetzold, CEO of the Hospitality Association, said.
Namibia is still listed as a high risk country to travel to, which is a strong travel barrier at international level. Paetzold hopes that information on the decreasing COVID-19 numbers, increasing vaccinations and improved and strengthened state at health facilities will sound out positive messaging across the globe and lead to Namibia being categorized as a low-risk, and hopefully a desirable travel destination.
“We are not near any form of new normality or profitable levels for tourism as yet at all, and it will definitely take huge and united national efforts to get Namibia’s tourism sector back on its feet,” she added.