THE tourism industry in Namibia picked up in the last three months on 2012 compared to the previous year, driven by better occupancy rates and a favourable exchange rate, FNB Namibia has said in its latest analysis of the sector.
The FNB and Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations (Fenata) Tourism Index for the fourth quarter of 2012 climbed 4,5% compared to the same period in 2011.
"The industry enjoyed slightly more favourable exchange rates throughout the final quarter, but the big driver was the December occupancy rates," Namene Kalili, head of research and competitor intelligence at FNB Namibia, said on Monday.
December occupancy rates were 5% higher year-on-year, mainly as a result of the joint efforts by the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) and local establishments, Kalili said.
"Local establishments aggressively promoted holiday packages to Namibians in the print media, radio and social networks," he said.
However, Kalili said the tourism industry's appetite for investment deteriorated during the last quarter of 2012 and that the sector employed fewer people.
Revenue also weakened, with expectations shifting from good to poor, he said.
However, FNB data shows that assets within the tourism industry increased by 6% from the third quarter, while liabilities declined by 6%. "Therefore the industry as a whole was better off financially," Kalili said.
He said the strong negative expectations from trophy hunters and car rental companies, lodges and hotels were responsible for the financial weakness. Quarter-on-quarter, tourist numbers in the fourth quarter were lower than that of the third quarter.
"There was a significant increase in operators reporting very poor tourist number sin the last quarter of the year, especially amongst guest farms, tour operators and trophy hunting operators," Kalili said.