Namibia’s tourism sector continues to be strangled by COVID-19 effects

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Namibia, Africa - Windmill with clear blue sky behind it. (Photo by: Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images)
Namibia, Africa – Windmill with clear blue sky behind it. (Photo by: Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images)

Namibia’s tourism room occupancy for this year shows that the industry continues to be strangled by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) said Thursday.

HAN CEO Gitta Paetzold said tourism occupancy statistics show that domestic travel which has been the only activity amid the COVID-19 pandemic shows that due to the closed borders and restrictions, there was a room occupancy of only 7.34 percent in July.

“July usually is the first month of Namibia’s tourism high season, which last year boasted with an almost 60 percent occupancy,” she said.

Paetzold said July had a slight increase from the 7.18 percent room occupancy recorded in June, and the 5.91 percent achieved in May when the hospitality sector was allowed to resume trade here in Namibia, she said.

According to Paetzold, these occupancy statistics of below 8 percent are nowhere near the ‘break-even margin’ and thus a clear sign, that despite being operational, the Namibian tourism accommodation establishments are currently all running at a loss.

“The industry is eager to see the opening of the national borders and the resumption of the normal tourism flow,” she said, adding that they anxiously await the implementation of government plans to revive the sector.

Meanwhile, HAN is aware that even if borders open, there will not be near as much demand for international travel, than in previous years, but it will send the right message out to the world that Namibia is ready to resume some form of normality in trade.

“The low numbers expected may help us to prove our readiness in terms of the tourism protocols put in place, and allow us to amend and perfect the measures applied to offer a safe and enjoyable experience,” she concluded.

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