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Tourist arrivals up by almost 40%

Tourist arrivals up by almost 40%

Zorena Jantze

DESPITE various lockdowns and the placement of the country on high-risk area lists by various countries due to Covid-19, the influx of tourist arrivals in Namibia continued with a total of 233 692 tourist entries recorded at all border points across the country in 2021.

This shows an overall increase of 37.81% when compared to 2020 tourist arrivals. This is according to statistics provided by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.

The data shows that Hosea Kutako International Airport was the most active border point with 43.7% of tourist arrivals followed by Ariamsvlei with 15.1%, Noordoewer with 13.1%, Trans-Kalahari with 10.5% and Rooikop with 6.4%.

File photo for illustrative purposes only.

The figures also showed an upward trend in monthly tourist arrivals, from only 11 203 in January to 28 755 arrivals in December, an overall increase of 156.67%.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Hospitality Association of Namibia, Gitta Paetzold, stated that the statistics do reflect the situation on the ground, as there has been a slight improvement in Namibia’s tourism activities albeit with a slow uptake.

She added that 2021 had a 23% occupancy rate for local hotels and other hospitality establishments, which is a significant increase from the around 17% occupancy rates recorded in 2021.

She, however, stated that the sector is not near halfway to its normal load.

Paetzold said there are a few organisations that are still closing down or are going through liquidation, adding that 40% of operations are not open or have shut down.

“The situation is looking up but we need to make sure that we do not fall back into travel restrictions. However, this is out of our control as a country sometimes. This was perfectly orchestrated by the closing off of the region due to the Omicron variant which was first identified by South Africa. We are cautiously optimistic,” Paetzold said.

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