Jobs grow slowly in tourism
A report released in Novemeber under the label FNB/FENATA Tourism Index, indicates that employment opportunities in the tourism sector has slightly increased over the past 3 months.
According to the report, hotel, lodges and tour operators reported higher employment figures and employment is expected to remain at slightly improved levels over the next quarter.
According to the Namibia Exit Survey 2012/2013 report, the average expenditure of all tourists visiting Namibia was N$1,840 per night. However, those visiting for holidays spent less than that, at N$1,267 per night.
The notion of one bed equals five jobs in the local tourism industry is evident as bed nights sold to local tourists increased by 15% year on year. There was also increased occupancy of conference facilities and a marginal increase in bed nights sold to business travellers.
The Tourism Index, which was released earlier this month, is composed of tourism information, exchange rates, passenger arrivals at Hosea Kutako Airport, bed occupancy rates and quarterly opinion scores on business performance, revenue, investment and employment. These figures are indexed and weighted to approximate the business environment in the tourism sector.
The report showed an increase of tourism activity at of 10.4% from the previous quarter and 6.0% from the same period last year despite international arrivals falling by 20% from the same period in 2012. The improvement in the tourism index was mainly driven by the weakening of the local currency and the increase in occupancy rates recorded at accommodation establishments.
However, according to FNB analyst, Namene Kalili, despite the 21% loss in value of the local currency, international arrivals did not increase resulting in a decrease of international flights by 19%.
Despite fewer international arrivals, overall business performance within the tourism sector improved during the third quarter. 66% of the respondents indicated improved business performance over the past quarter up from 55% during the same period last year.
Looking to the fourth quarter, business performance is expected to remain the same as the fourth quarter of 2012, with the number of operators expecting good business performance declining. The increased business performance did not lead to a positive revenue outturn as fewer businesses experienced higher revenue flows into their businesses. The number of tourism operators with poorer revenues increased during the quarter.
Operating costs are a major problem and almost half the respondents complained about high and rising costs. However, revenue within the tourism sector is expected to improve during the fourth quarter. To this end, fewer businesses expect poor to fair revenue flows while an increased proportion of operators expect good to very good revenues during the fourth quarter. Hotel, lodge and tour operators are the most optimistic respondents for improved future revenue flows.