The hospitality industry of Namibia experienced a record growth of nine percent in room and bed occupancy last year, according to new statistics released. “The quarterly and annual room and bed occupancy statistics report compiled by the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) reveals that the Namibian tourism accommodation industry experienced a growth of some nine percent in room sales last year compared to 2013,” Gitta Paetzold, chief executive officer of HAN stated. “In 2014, the annual average occupancy rates exceeded the 50% threshold of 2008 again and reached 57.4%,” Paetzold added. According to her, tourism in Namibia seemed to have experienced its best year in seven years during 2014 with occupancy statistics five percent higher than 2008.
After the global economic crisis, which started in 2008, tourism figures for Namibia declined from 2009 until 2011 when a low average bed occupancy of 40.5% was recorded. From 2012 onwards more tourists visited Namibia with the highest figure of 1.3 million visitors recorded in 2013. The official visitor statistics for 2014 will only be released later this year. Namibia has a population of around 2.1 million and 44.5% of its total area is under conservation.
The German-speaking European market still remains Namibia’s biggest source market with about 21.1% coming from either Germany, Austria or Switzerland. South Africans made up 12% of tourists who booked an overnight stay at accommodation establishments in 2014. According to the World Tourism & Travel Council (WTTC) direct contribution of travel and tourism in Namibia contributed 3.12 billion Namibian dollars – 3% – to the country’s economy in 2013.