Things are looking positive as the tourism sector heads towards recovery, says Hotel Association of Namibia (HAN) chief executive officer Gitta Paetzold. Her optimism stems from data showing that a national hotel occupancy rate of 39.4% was recorded during May 2022, up from 36.5% in the prior month and 25.1% in May 2021.
This is the highest national occupancy rate since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, and the occupancy rate for May 2022 is the first monthly data to surpass February 2020 figures.
According to a Simonis Storm analysis of the data year-to-date (YTD), the national occupancy rate averages 29.1%, compared to 22.5% for the same period in 2021, showing an improvement in bookings made with hospitality establishments nationwide.
The proportion of Namibian visitors at local establishments continues to decline. During May 2022, 30.6% of guests were Namibians, compared to 37.7% during the prior month and 83.3% in the second quarter of 2020.
Regarding purpose of travel into Namibia, HAN data say 94.6% came for leisure, 2.8% for business and 2.6% for conferences.
Hospitality establishments in the central area recorded the highest occupancy rate (47.7%), followed by the northern area (41.7%), coastal area (35.5%) and southern area (35.3%) in May 2022.
Tourists visiting the central and northern areas have been on an increase YTD, whereas visits to the coastal and southern areas are on the decline.
Prior to the pandemic, the northern area typically hosted the largest number of tourists during Namibia’s peak tourist season (May to August).
Foreign and regional arrivals at all airports in Namibia dipped slightly in May 2022 by 10.3% m/m and 9.1% m/m respectively. Total foreign arrivals were 11, 732 in May 2022, compared to 13 , 047 in April 2022.