from ALFRED SHILONGO in Windhoek, Namibia
WINDHOEK, (CAJ News) – ANALYSTS forecast it would take at least two years for Namibia’s tourism sector to recover from the decline fuelled by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
This is attributed to a decline in global tourism amid lockdowns as well as the Southern African country’s slow rate of vaccination.
Daniel Kavishe and Neville Mandimika, the analysts at Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) made the projections.
“We estimate that it will take 2-3 years before tourism and travel return to pre-pandemic levels, especially given generally weaker global tourism, but also in light of Namibia’s slow pace of vaccination relative to other tourist destinations in Africa,” the duo said in a joint statement.
Despite domestic travellers accounting for 67 percent of the hospitality sector’s occupancy rates in the first quarter of the current year (1Q21), up from 33 percent in 1Q20, the total hotel beds sold in Namibia are down 53,1 percent compared to the same period last year.
The latest data from the Namibia’s Hospitality Association shows that bed occupancy in 1Q21 hovered at 17 percent compared to 27,2 percent in 1Q20.
RMB noted that normally, the first quarter tends to be muted with respect to international travel or tourism.
Room and bed occupancy rates during this time are often associated with people travelling for business or work conferences.
However, even for business travellers, bed occupancy rates are down to 13 percent in 1Q21 versus 17 percent in 1Q20.
Tourism is a major contributor to Namibia’s economy.
It contributes around 1 percent to gross domestic product (GDP) and more than 18 percent of all employment.
The World Bank projects the COVID-19 pandemic to have an unprecedented impact on Namibia’s economy and has exacerbated preexisting structural challenges.
Real GDP contracted by 7,4 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) over Q1 to Q3 2020.
Namibia has documented 46 733 cases of COVID-19, including 604 deaths.
– CAJ News