Namibia: Tourism Sector Has Significant Potential for Further Growth - New Statistics Encouraging Despite Persisting Economic Crisis

The country's official foreign arrival and tourist figures released recently, reveal that foreign arrivals increased by a significant 3.2% from 2017 to 2018, and the number of bona fide tourists increased by 3.9% for the same period.

The top countries from where the largest number of tourists came comprise Angola, South Africa, Zambia, Germany, Zimbabwe, Botswana, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Netherlands, according to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism's 2018 Tourist Statistics Report launched this week.

The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon Pohamba Shifeta at the launch said, year-to-date, the tourism sector performance especially inbound demand remains remarkably strong despite the persisting global economic crisis.

"These figures give us confidence that we are making good progress in our efforts to grow and develop the tourism industry as a global player. This speaks volumes and we hope the tourism industry will take heart in these figures and continue working together to grow tourism in Namibia as a preferred destination in Africa," he added.

Shifeta said the increase in the tourist arrivals helps the tourism sector to contribute massively to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and providing jobs opportunities across its wide value chain.

"What makes our sector unique is its multiplying effects in contributing to the economy. Tourism touches every aspect of our society with its impact felt in rural areas," he continued.

Furthermore the minister said overall the 2018 figures give them confidence in the efforts to grow and develop the tourism industry in a global market.

"The sector has significant potential for further growth. At present, the Namibian tourism sector is growing rapidly compared to other economic sectors and we believe that the travel and leisure sector stands out as one that offers enormous unrealized potential," he said.

According to Shifeta, in order to uphold and build on the impressive numbers, Namibia has to continue improving its services and products to ensure that it remains a value for money destination.

The 2018 report was compiled with the data collected by the ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration.

The minister congratulated the Namibia Tourism Board for its continuous marketing of Namibia as a preferred tourist destination with endless horizons.

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