Erongo tourism meet motivates stakeholders to continue sectoral revival
By Adolf Kaure.
The chairperson of the Erongo Regional Tourism Forum, Neville Andre said that there is a dire need to continue improving the sector’s performance, when he spoke at the forum’s stakeholder engagement which took place on Friday in Swakopmund.
The briefing was held to provide an update on the sector’s progress, especially during the erratic economic climate affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and lately by inflation.
“We can all testify from observations in occupancy at local accommodation establishments that the Erongo Region and its towns such as Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Henties Bay has attracted a large number of local, regional and international visitors in 2022.”
“This can be attributed to the closer collaboration amongst the key stakeholders in the industry and the harmonisation of strategies as outlined in the Namibia Tourism Sector Recovery Plan and other supporting documents. The sector’s real value has undoubtedly not recovered to pre-pandemic levels yet, but it is showing positive growth.”
“Hence, there is a dire need to continue to improve its performance,” said Andre during his keynote address.
According to the United World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the international tourism industry continues to show strong signs of recovery, with international arrivals almost tripling in the January 2022 to July 2022 period.
This is a 172% growth compared to the same period in 2021 and implies that the global tourism industry has recovered to about 60% of pre-pandemic levels, according to the UNWTO’s latest World Tourism Barometer.
Other statistics provided bythe Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) indicate a national occupancy rate of 54.6% in October 2022 compared to 33.8% in October 2021.
At regional level, the accommodation stats show that the occupancy rate in coastal towns was 59.36% in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to 50.01% in 2019.
“It is indeed a good indication that tourism is on the way back,” said Andre, who is also the Governor of the Erongo Region.
He urged all stakeholders to continue providing excellent customer service across the tourism value chain. “As you all know, the Namibian government recognises tourism as one of the economic pillars. The experience of our visitors from the time they land in our region should be an awesome experience,” he said.
Andre concluded by commending the stakeholders in the tourism sector for their contributions to and support of the sector’s growth and for the new quality tourism product developments in the Erongo Region.
“It is my hope and belief that if we work together as tourism stakeholders, we will weather the storm and recover the sector’s contribution to our GDP and attract more tourists to the Erongo region.”
On national scale, the Namibian Government has put together a roadmap entitled the Namibia Tourism Sector Recovery Plan (2022 – 2024) to aid the recovery process of the sector.