Post COVID tourism shows steady growth in 2021 – Minister Shifeta
There was a significant increase in foreign arrivals of 40.9% from the total of 192,026 arrivals in 2020, to 270,644 arrivals in 2021, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism’s Annual Tourist Arrival Statistical Report for 2021 released on Monday stated.
As a subcategory, tourist arrivals also showed substantial growth of 37.3% from 169,565 in 2020 to 232,756 in 2021.
“This growth is commendable considering the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism sector globally in 2020 and 2021,” Minister Pohamba Shifeta said at the report launch in Windhoek.
Shifeta said, “although the number of tourist arrivals is not at the level it was before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, an increase such as this gives us an improved hope that the sector is on its way to recovery.”
“The African tourist source markets in 2021 were dominated by arrivals from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana while Germany, France, Switzerland, the USA and the United Kingdom made up the top five of the overseas tourist markets. Overall, a higher number of arrivals was recorded in the last quarter of the year, from October to December, accounting for 41.8% of the total. Moreover, there was an increase in the number of the average length of stay in Namibia to 24 days as compared to 19 days in 2020,” he added.
According to Shifeta, the growth in tourist numbers depicts raising confidence in the minds of tourists that Namibia is safe and ready for travel and tourism post-Covid-19.
“We appreciate such confidence and work that has gone into the marketing of the country as a preferred leisure destination,” he added.
Shifeta said the ministry has developed a Tourism Recovery Plan that sets out a framework for the tourism sector recovery process for the next three years.
The Plan provides targeted policy interventions, programmes and activities to be carried out to restore and support the sector. Equally, the ministry is implementing the 6th edition of the Tourism Satellite Account with the support of UNECA to strengthen data collection and analytics.
“The figures announced today give us optimism that we are indeed making good progress in growing and developing our tourism industry post the Covid-19 era,” he said, adding that Namibia remains a treasured destination by providing excellent customer service at all points of contact with the guests.