THE number of tourist arrivals in the country increased by 3,9% in 2018, environment and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta said yesterday when he launched the 2018 Tourism Statistics Report.
The report gives up-to-date statistics to all tourism stakeholders. Shifeta said the statistics are relevant for planning, budgeting and evaluation of tourism programmes and projects.
Other than tourists, the number of foreign arrivals in the country increased by 3,2%.
Countries with the largest number of tourists who visited Namibia in 2018 were Angola, South Africa, Zambia, Germany, Zimbabwe, Botswana, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Netherlands.
Shifeta said the increase in tourist arrivals was helping the tourism sector to contribute to the country's gross domestic product and provide jobs across its wide value chain.
"These days, Namibia is a much better tourist destination than it was in previous years. We know this because the statistics prove so," he said.
The minister further said to uphold and build on the numbers, the country has to continue improving its services and products to ensure that Namibia remains a good-value-for-money destination.
"The report shows how Namibia needs to enhance its image in terms of promotion and marketing to deepen its position as a destination. Most importantly, the tourism industry needs to diversify its tourism products, address seasonality and manage growth strategically," he said.
The report states that the number of tourist arrivals increased by 3,9% to 1,5 million from 1,4 million visitors recorded in 2017. This covers all entries recorded at land borders, airports as well as harbours.
The minister also noted that African tourism markets are doing well, with Angola recording the highest tourist arrivals at 489 013 visitors.
Meanwhile, 791 950 tourists came to Namibia to visit relatives or friends, 541 368 came for holiday purposes and 191 613 came for business.
Air Namibia tops the list in tourist arrivals by airline with 41%, followed by South African Airways (21,9%) and British Airways (6%).
The minister said to uphold and build on the numbers, the country has to continue improving its services and products to ensure that Namibia remains a value for money destination.
Last year, the ministry of home affairs announced that tourists from 47 countries no longer have to apply for visas in advance before leaving their countries for tourism, visiting, or transiting through Namibia. The list comprises 27 African countries and 20 others from across the world.
The current 27 African countries selected are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tunisia, Western Sahara and Uganda.
Those that will benefit from outside Africa include Belarus, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Moldova, Nicaragua, Poland and Romania.
It also includes Slovakia, South Korea, Venezuela, Vietnam, Thailand and Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Ukraine.
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