Saturday, January 25, 2020

Namibia Remains Top Tourist Destination
New Era

WINDHOEK - Namibia remains a tourist destination of choice for many foreign visitors. Over 1.5 million tourists visited Namibia in 2018, compared to roughly 1.49 million visitors who arrived in the country in 2017, the minister of tourism Pohamba Shifeta announced yesterday.

According to Shifeta, the number of arrivals increased by an impressive 3.2 percent from 2017 to 2018, while tourist figures increased by 3.9 percent during the same period. In 2018, the statistics show that the number of tourist arrivals increased by 3.9 percent to 1 557.279 from 1 499.442 visitors recorded in 2017.

The top countries with the largest number of tourists who visited Namibia in 2018 were Angola, South Africa, Zambia, Germany, Zimbabwe, Botswana, France, United Kingdom, United States and the Netherlands.

Shifeta launched the delayed 2018 tourist statistical report yesterday. He attributed the launch delay to various factors but promised to release the latest report of 2019 by August this year. According to the 2018 report, Namibia’s top ten tourist market is Angola with 489 013 arrivals, followed by South Africa with 299 319, then Zambia that brought in 242 160 visitors, while 124 622 Germans came to the country. 

Furthermore, 60 689 Zimbabweans came to Namibia, with 50 056 visitors coming from Botswana, while 30 576 came from France.

Visitors from the United Kingdom totalled 30 520, while 28 030 were from the USA and 22 898 from the Netherlands.

The tourists came to Namibia for various reasons such as visiting friends or relatives, holiday, business and other purposes. Shifeta noted the growth was mainly driven by the continuous increase of visitors from European source markets.

“The tourism sector has experienced an upward trend since 2012. The rise in international tourists is the lifeline of many African countries including Namibia, as money is injected into the economy. This rise gives a positive indication that the tourism sector will remain thriving for economic growth during this economic crisis as being experienced globally,” he said.

Most tourist arrivals for 2018 were via airlines, with Air Namibia topping the list with 41.1 percent, compared to 37.3 per cent in 2017. Shifeta maintained the increase in the tourist arrivals augurs well for the tourism sector to contribute massively to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and providing job opportunities across its wide value chain.

“What makes our sector unique is its multiplying effects in contributing to the GDP of the economy. Tourism touches every aspect of our society, with its impact felt in rural areas of our country,” Shifeta said.

 Albertina Nakale

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