New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Slight Improvement in Tourism Numbers

Windhoek — The tourism industry continued to improve on a year on year basis with the tourism index climbing a further 4.5 percent in the final quarter of 2012, when compared to the 2011 final quarter.

The growth is owed to slightly more favourable exchange rates throughout the final quarter, but the big driver was the December occupancy rates that increased 5 percent year on year as a result of the joint efforts by the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) and local establishments.

The figures are from the newly released Tourism Index report, a joint document by FNB Namibia and the Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations (Fenata).

The report also advised that local establishments promoted their holiday packages to Namibia quite vigorously but despite this, recovery remains fragile.

The industry was now also moving into the slow season and the report indicates that the first quarter of 2013 would be worse than 2012, based on airline load factors and the fact that tourists in the first quarter were low spenders.

"The industry's investment appetite continued to deteriorate while employing fewer people. Furthermore, inflation within the tourism sector remains relatively high in relation to inflation in the main source market, Europe, which will make Namibia a less competitive holiday destination when compared to other holiday destinations," said Namene Kalili, manager of research and competitor intelligence at FNB Namibia

Revenue deteriorated during the final quarter and expectations shifted to "poor", but assets within the tourism sector increased and this meant that the industry as a whole was financially better off. Operators reported poor tourist numbers, especially amongst guest farms, guided tours and trophy hunting outfits.

"The sector expects poor business performance for the first quarter of 2013 when compared to the same period last year. Most notably, accommodation, hotel and trophy hunting operators expect their businesses to perform poorly, mainly because this period is traditionally a low season and the trophy hunting season only starts in February. However, activity operators were the only optimists for the first quarter and understandably so given the hype surrounding the Adventure Travel World Summit in October," said Kalili.

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