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MORE TOURISTS ARRIVED AT HKIA IN 2021 THAN 2020: HAN/SIMONIS STORM

By: Kelvin Chiringa/Ludorf Iyambo

Latest tourism arrival statistics from the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) shows that a total of 63,555 international passengers arrived at Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) during 2021, compared to 46,342 in 2020 and 215,155.

HAN has said that December 2021 recorded 4,844 international arrivals, compared to 10,393 in the prior month (↓ 53.4% m/m) and 4,711 a year ago (↑ 2.8% y/y).

On average, HKIA received 5,296 international arrivals per month in 2021, compared to 17,930 per month in 2019 on average (70% below pre-pandemic levels), according to HAN.

“Regarding purpose of travel into Namibia, 91.8% came for leisure, 4.7% for business and 3.5% for conferences. Hospitality establishments in the coastal area have seen the fastest recovery in occupancy rates, followed by the central area,” said HAN.

The Association also said during December 2021, 66.3% of the visitors at local establishments were Namibian, indicating that locals continue to take advantage of specials and discounted packages.

Most of the foreign tourists who visited local establishments during December 2021 travelled from South Africa (11.0%), Benelux (1.9%), France (1.8%), other SADC excluding South Africa and Angola (0.96%) and the UK and Ireland (0.85%).

HAN’s report shows that from 103 nationwide establishments, a national occupancy rate of 32.5% was recorded in 4Q2021 (compared to 17.0% in 3Q2021 and 19.5% in 4Q2020).

December 2021 recorded a national occupancy rate of 27.8% compared to 35.1% in November 2021 and 28.6% in December 2020.

Simonis Storm Securities experts have said, “A meaningful recovery in the tourism sector has yet to materialise as the occupancy rates in 4Q2021 are about a third of occupancy rates seen in 4Q2019.”

The economists said with growing signs that Omicron is less severe than Delta, Namibia saw some relief by being removed from international travel ban lists in December 2021.

“Tourists visiting Namibia over the festive season enjoyed living in a fairly normal Namibia without a curfew, alcohol sales being relatively comparable with pre-Covid trading hours and free inter-regional travel,” they said.

Simonis Storm highlighted that Namibia currently has about 355,000 individuals fully vaccinated (about 14.2% of the population).

“If we continue at the current rate, only 21% of the population will be fully vaccinated by the end of 2022. Our low vaccination rate will continue to keep conservative or cautious tourists from visiting our country,” economist Theo Klein from Simonis Storm said.

He added, “Virologists now predict that future Covid-19 variants will be less severe and gravitate to being a seasonal disease with which we simply have to live with.”

“Some researchers say that Omicron could hasten the Covid-19 virus’ transition from pandemic to endemic. One of the main reasons for this is due to some believing that the Covid-19 virus will never disappear according to a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.”

One implication of this however, is that regular vaccinations and antiviral pill treatments will become part of life in order to make future variants less severe, said the brokerage firm.

Namibia recorded 18,787 additional new cases/infections in December 2021, compared to 281 new cases recorded in November 2021 (↑ 6,586% m/m) and 9,561 new cases recorded in December 2020 (↑ 96% y/y).

A total of 60 Covid-19 related deaths were recorded in December 2021, compared to 20 in November 2021 (↑ 200% m/m) and 54 in December 2020 (↑ 11% y/y), according to Simonis Storm.

 

 

Kelvin Chiringa

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