Hotel occupancy jumps up by 30%

The Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) says hotel occupancy has swelled from 54,6% recorded in October last year to 89,6% this year.

The increase shows a 30% increase in real terms.

HAN empahasised that the improvement is driven by a growing appetite for leisure travelling by both local and international tourists within Namibia’s borders.

HAN says business travellers accounted for 9,9% – a slight decrease from the 10,1% reported in September 2023 but a substantial increase compared to the 2,7% rate observed in October 2022.

“Conference travellers, however, comprised only 0,4% of occupancy in October 2023, down from 1,2% in September 2023,” said HAN.

According to an analysis by Simonis Storm Securities, in October 2023 the coastal region had the highest occupancy rate of an impressive 71,9%. This marked a significant milestone, as it is the first time the rate has surpassed 70% since October 2018.

“Following closely behind, the northern area maintained a robust rate of 69,2%, having led for two consecutive months. In comparison, the southern and central areas recorded rates of 62,1% and 60,8%, respectively,” said Simonis.

These statistics vividly highlight the variations in tourism demand across these regions, with the coastal and northern areas standing out as the most favoured destinations among tourists in October 2023, added the analysts.

According to Simonis, the majority of guests at hospitality establishments nationwide predominantly came from Europe, with Germany, Switzerland and Austria collectively contributing the largest share of international tourist arrivals at 42,3%.

Notably, these countries contribute significantly to the diverse visitor landscape, with France following closely behind, accounting for 7,4% of the total tourist arrivals.

At a regional level, South Africa is noteworthy, representing 4,4% of the aggregate guest composition in hospitality establishments throughout Namibia.

The latest data from the World Tourism Organisation indicates a robust start to international tourism recovery in 2023. During the first quarter, international arrivals reached 80% of pre-pandemic levels, with 235 million tourists, double the number from the same period in 2022.

The tourism sector has shown resilience, with 66% of pre-pandemic numbers recovered in 2022.

The Middle East outperformed other regions, exceeding 2019 arrivals by 20%.

International tourist arrivals in Africa remain 8% below levels recorded in 2019, a significant improvement from international tourist arrivals recorded in 2022 during the same period.

According to Simonis, the Namibian tourism sector remains a vital contributor to the country’s economy, establishing significant connections with other industries and serving as a crucial driver of job creation.

“Given its reliance on Namibia’s abundant unskilled labour, the tourism sector emerges as a viable solution to address high unemployment rates, particularly in rural areas.

“Consequently, as the holiday season approaches, we anticipate the tourism industry to continue bolstering local economic activity for the remainder of the year,” said Simonis.

The analysts said the collaboration between Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) and Germany’s Inter-Cultural Relations Foundation, bringing in 100 apprentices, is set to significantly benefit Namibia’s hospitality industry.

– matthew@nambian.com.na

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