Spike in Tourists Flocking to Namibia

Foreign arrivals to Namibia in 2013 totalled 1.4 million of which tourist arrivals amounted to 1.2 million representing 86 percent of all the foreign arrivals recorded over that period.

This figure indicates an increase from the 1.3 million foreign arrivals recorded in 2012, of which one million were tourists.

Most of the foreign arrivals were from Angola and South Africa and four persons out of five visitors were tourists.

According to the 201213 Tourist Statistics Report released on Monday by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, a significant proportion of Zambians were same-day visitors, representing about two persons out of every five Zambians visiting Namibia.

The report also shows the overall market for tourists to Namibia in 2013 was led by Angola followed by South Africa and Zambia in third place.

These patterns are the same for the 2012 tourist arrivals.

Speaking at the launch, Sem Shikongo, the Director of Tourism and Gaming noted that Angolans flocked to Namibia for medical and business purposes.

‘We know they come for hospitals and they also do business as well as shopping,” said Shikongo.

The same report says overall overseas holiday tourists amounted to 187 064 in 2013, up from 181 830 in 2012 and 176 857 in 2011.

The top ten overseas holiday tourist arrivals to Namibia, the reports says, were led by Germany and the United Kingdom (UK) for several years up until 2012.

In 2013 the Untied States took over second place from the UK while Canada rose to eighth place up from the 13th position in 2012.

Equally, tourist arrivals from North America (USA and Canada) amounted to 26 116 and significantly increased from 2012 to 2013.

“Despite the world economic crises in 200809, tourist arrivals to Namibia have continuously increased over the last five years. Tourist arrivals have increased by 9 percent from 2012 to 2013 and by 5 percent from 2011 and 2012. The increase of tourist arrivals in 2012 and 2013 is possibly due to major government and private sector interventions in the tourism sector,” it was stated.

Against such achievement, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Uahekua Herunga, urged the tourism industry to continue working together to grow tourism in Namibia as a preferred destination in Africa.

“These figures give us confidence that we are making good progress in our efforts to grow and develop the tourism industry as a global sector. In order to uphold and build on these impressive numbers, we have to continue to make our best endeavours to ensure that Namibia remains a value for money destination by providing excellent service,” Herunga stated at the launch.

Moreover, the report also shows that tourist arrivals from Africa have increased by 10.4 percent between 2012 and 2013. An increase of 5.4 percent was recorded between 2011 and 2012.

Although Chinese arrivals increased by 70 percent from 2012 to 2013 and by 45 percent from 2011 to 2012, Shikongo says there is still room to improve the Chinese market.

“Yes, some Chinese coming here are tourists, some are business people and when they come here they stay in our facilities. They have good money. If we can get 4 percent of the Chinese market then we are talking good business. We can start producing products earmarked at the Chinese – the Chinese want to gamble and do shopping, they want to be busy. They travel in big groups,” Shikongo said.

Source : New Era