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Air Namibia remains top conveyor belt for tourism: Shifeta

Summary

There is a need to keep Air Namibia sustainable as it remains the top airline to carry tourists into the country, Minister of Environment and Tourism (MET), Pohamba Shifeta has said. Speaking at the launch of the 2018 tourist statistics report here on…

There is a need to keep Air Namibia sustainable as it remains the top airline to carry tourists into the country, Minister of Environment and Tourism (MET), Pohamba Shifeta has said.

Speaking at the launch of the 2018 tourist statistics report here on Tuesday he said in 2018 the national airline flew 41.7 per cent of arrivals as compared to 37.3 percent in 2017.

Air Namibia received N.dollars 578 million from government to sustain its operations until the first quarter of 2020, after the airline requested N.dollars 1.6 billion bailout from the government in September 2018 for its operation.

The public might not have the complete picture of why it is important for government to bailout the airline and they only get one part of story. Many of our tourists use Air Namibia and I want us to keep this in mind when the government deicides its fate, he said.

Shifeta highlighted that in 2018 a total of 1 557 279 tourists were recorded as compared to 1 499 442 visitors in 2017, which covers all entries recorded at land borders, airports as well as harbours.

He further noted that top countries with largest number of tourists who visited Namibia were Angola; South Africa, Zambia; Germany; Zimbabwe, Botswana; France; United Kingdom; United States and the Netherlands.

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, he noted.

Shifeta emphasised that 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.

He said statistics should be embraced as a fundamental part of assessing the country's status as it serves as a channel of trust amongst citizens and amongst nations.

Shifeta also apologised on the slow dissemination of yearly tourism statistics, saying that the ministry will improve to ensure that figures are given out on time.

The ministry is committed to its mandate to compile and publish annual tourism statistics, the purpose of the reports is to provide up to date statistics as an indicator for the tourism sector performance.

Source: Namibia Press Agency