By: Justicia Shipena
Cost pressures will make Namibian hotels more expensive compared to South Africa.
This was revealed in a report by Simonis Storm on hospitality statistics for March 2022.
According to the report, an industry expert says hotels in Namibia are 23 per cent more expensive than Cape Town or Johannesburg.
“Cost pressures will make Namibia even more expensive than South Africa,” it said. Hence the report said Namibia would need to market itself to persuade tourists to visit.
With Namibia’s high season fast approaching, the report states that prices at local hospitality establishments are expected to increase in the upcoming months.
“Do expect prices at local hospitality establishments to increase.”
Simonis Storm says higher food, fuel, and utility costs will weigh on profit margins, potentially leading to higher room rates.
The report indicated that demand from the self-drive market has increased in recent weeks.
“However, available local cars are in short supply. Local rental companies had a fleet of about 8,500 vehicles before the pandemic outbreak and currently have about 2,000.”
Additionally, it said rental companies are struggling to source new vehicles to rebuild their fleet in response to rising demand.
The report further shows that a national occupancy rate of 28.6 per cent was recorded during March 2022, compared to 20.1 per cent in March 2021 and 25.4 per cent in March 2020.
This is according to the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN).
Simonis says this is the highest national occupancy rate since December 2021; however, it is far below pre-pandemic levels.
“It adds that the proportion of Namibian visitors at local establishments continues to decline. 43.7 per cent of visitors were Namibians during March 2022. Most visitors came from Germany, Switzerland and Austria (27.9 per cent), South Africa (12.0 per cent), France (3.6 per cent) and Benelux (2.04 per cent) during March 2022,” it reads.
While the report shows that hotels below and above 30 rooms recorded the highest occupancy rates last month, standing at 45.3 per cent and 39.1 per cent.
This, according to the report, was followed by bed & breakfasts with 39.0 per cent.
“Tented camps with 28.6 per cent, lodges with 23.6 per cent, guest farms with 23.4 per cent, guesthouses with 19.1 per cent and rest camps with 15.4 per cent.”
Regarding travel to Namibia, the report further said 88 per cent came for leisure, while 6.6 per cent for business and 5.4 per cent for conferences.
Thus, it said hospitality establishments in the coastal area recorded the highest occupancy rate with 41.3 per cent, followed by the central area accounting for 39.4 per cent in March 2022.
“The southern area had 27.9 per cent and the northern region 18.2 per cent.”
Moreover, the report said the Easter weekend could have likely boosted occupancy levels in the coastal area during March.
Additionally, Simonis Storm hotels and restaurant sector has posted a growth rate of 10.4 per cent in 2021, compared to a contraction of 30.4 per cent in 2020.
According to the report, a slow recovery in tourism resulted from Namibia’s low vaccination rates, global travel restrictions, and new variant infection outbreaks.
The report also states that the Bank of Namibia forecasts 4.8 per cent growth for this sector in 2022.
It added that the tourism sector remains one of the sectors contributing to Namibia’s GDP, with a 2.5 per cent GDP growth forecast for 2022.
Furthermore, the report said Ethiopian Airlines increased their weekly flights to Windhoek from 4 to 5, and TAAG increased their weekly Windhoek trips from 2 to 3 from the end of March.
Airlink currently operates about 45 flights between Namibia and South Africa per week.
“In the absence of Air Namibia, we remain optimistic about seeing an increased inflow of foreign arrivals due to the airlines mentioned above improving operations in Namibia.”