Occupancy stats show tourism returning to positive trend
The latest room/bed occupancy statistics released by the Hospitality Association of Namibia shows tourism establishments recorded a 27% average occupancy across the country in September 2021, almost four times more than September 2020.
The 2021 third quarter occupancy report indicate a 19% occupancy, compared to just under 8% last year. This is however less than a third of the almost 65% reached in 2019 before the arrival of the calamitous shutdowns.
“While we are not nearly close to normal times yet, the current trend in tourism is one of positivity and hope for things to gradually increase and tourism surely on the road to recovery,” Gitta Paetzold, Chief Executive of the Hospitality Association said.
According to the report, some 45% of guests to the accommodation facilities are Namibians, but the European Union remains a key source market with over 38% of the guests coming from various European countries. Just more than 10% of guests came from South Africa indicating that Namibia’s traditional source markets are keen and committed to return to Namibia.
Paetzold added that signs on the road also point to positive trends, with numerous self-drive tourists on tour throughout Namibia and car rental companies running out of stock, as demand is increasing.
“As for the accommodation sector, due to growing demand, there are currently very attractive job and career opportunities opening up in this sector, with many an establishment looking for skilled staff in housekeeping, guest relations and middle-management,” she said.
Paetzold is of the view that in order to boost Namibia’s attractiveness as destination would be to allow fully vaccinated people to enter the country without additional and expensive PCR tests.
She believes that granting vaccinated people beneficial status is most likely to boost the national vaccination campaign, as incentives and benefits are believed to help convince people to get vaccinated.
“Particularly in view of the upcoming festive season and the potential Namibia has in attracting visitors from South Africa, it is imperative to reconsider the stringent regulations on expensive PCR tests, as these tests add huge financial costs for family travel and might ruin Namibia’s chances of benefiting from the South African market,” she explained.