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Rewarding year for tourism despite challenges

Rewarding year for tourism despite challenges

Marthina Mutanga

DESPITE tough economic times, Namibia remains a popular travel destination, with the self-drive market having virtually exploded as evidenced by the increase of rental vehicles on the roads of the country.
Gitta Paetzold, the Chief Executive of Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN), said the months of July to September – being the peak of Namibia’s tourism high season – looked reasonable, although a slight decline in July and August is apparent from the HAN figures thus far.
The first two quarters of 2019 have shown a slight increase in occupancy numbers, based on the monthly submissions HAN received from its members.
As recent as late September, some embassies, including the German Embassy in Windhoek, have reviewed their travel advisories on Namibia, sounding out great caution against the increasing level of severe and armed robberies, especially on tourists, and especially after hours and weekends, when streets are deserted.
Embassies also cautioned tourists with rented vehicles about being followed from points of entry (airport/border post or rental company) to their accommodation, and at deserted rest stops across the country.
Peatzhold lastly said advice is being shared widely among tour operators abroad and does not send a positive image of Namibia, and tourism has requested the City of Windhoek and law enforcement agencies to be vigilant and seriously address this issue, whichever way possible.
The drought currently experienced in Namibia is also reason for concern, as it is generally known, that tourism operations do require excess levels of water, sometimes in pristine and dry areas.

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