Namibia’s tourism sector has consolidated its recovery by recording average occupancy rates of 65% for the third quarter of the year (July to September) – higher than for the same period in 2019.
The statistics – covering what is traditionally Namibia’s tourism high season – were gathered from 106 accommodation establishments affiliated with the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN).
“Comparative figures indicate that the growth is mainly thanks to the increase in arrivals from Central Europe, with both the German-speaking countries, (Germany, Switzerland and Austria), as well as France and Italy all ending more than 3% higher than the levels of 2019,” said HAN CEO Gitta Paetzold.
Paetzold said that leisure travel still dominates occupancy numbers, although some hotels report a gradual increase in demand for business and conference packages. She added that online reservations and self-drive tourists had driven the recovery.
“In discussions with the wider travel industry, it was emphasised that the accommodation performance indicators do exceed the level of recovery of the larger tour operation sector, which reveals that the Namibian tourism market's online reservations and self-drive component were the first to fully recover and grow.”
“An early prognosis for 2024 would indicate further recovery of the group-travel market, with forward bookings for that industry segment looking promising.”
Patezold added that marketing efforts needed to be maintained with Namibia now moving into its tourism ‘shoulder’ seasons – the travel period between the peak season and the off-season.
“It is hoped that preparations both in terms of strong marketing efforts within the international and regional markets are being prepared, while service providers and property and infrastructure owners use the time for maintenance, skills development and product optimisation, to ensure that Namibia can keep the momentum of a growing and vibrant tourism industry.”