By Kaleb Nghishidivali
Windhoek, Aug. 15 – The Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, announced a remarkable 98.1% increase in international tourist arrivals to Namibia in 2022 during the launch of the Annual Tourist Statistical Report 2022.
Minister Shifeta revealed that the number of tourist arrivals soared from 232,756 in 2021 to 461,027 in 2022, showcasing a 28.9% recovery from the 2019 levels. Various factors contributed to this impressive growth, including enhanced accessibility, revised visa regulations, expanded airline availability, robust marketing campaigns, hosting international events, and heightened global brand recognition for Namibia.
The report highlighted the leading source markets for Namibia in 2022, with South Africa, Angola, Germany, Zambia, Botswana, France, the UK, the United States, Italy, and Switzerland ranking among the top ten. Notably, the last quarter of the year saw the majority of tourists, accounting for 53.1% of total arrivals, indicating a shift in travel patterns.
Minister Shifeta emphasized that the success of the tourism sector should be measured not only by visitor numbers but also by its commitment to sustainable development practices. This includes minimizing environmental impact, ensuring visitor safety, enhancing the overall experience, and offering value for money.
The Ministry stressed the importance of fostering sustainable partnerships with local communities and other strategic collaborators. This approach aims to ensure equitable socio-economic advantages that benefit all Namibian citizens over the long term.
Shifeta encouraged stakeholders to innovate by creating new products, experiences, routes, and attractions to elevate the visitor experience and entice repeat visits. Acknowledging potential domestic and regional market opportunities, the Ministry is implementing a Tourism Sector Recovery Plan that supports various phases of recovery.
The Minister also mentioned the ongoing collaboration with the National Statistics Agency (NSA) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to compile the 6th edition of Namibia’s Tourism Satellite Account (TSA). This forthcoming report will highlight the tourism sector’s post-Covid-19 contribution to Namibia’s GDP and economic impact.
In closing, Minister Shifeta expressed gratitude to key stakeholders, including the NTB, Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and Safety & Security, and the NIPDB, for their collective efforts that contributed to Namibia’s tourism sector success in 2022. – Namibia Daily News