WINDHOEK, Aug. 11 — Namibia recorded 192,026 foreign arrivals last year, of which 169,565 were registered as tourists, which showed a decline of 89.4 percent in comparison to that of the previous year, according to a tourism statistical report released by the government Wednesday.
The country’s annual National Tourists Arrival Statistics report showed that Namibia had 1,595,973 tourist arrivals last year and South Africa overtook Angola to become the main African source market providing 28.6 percent of total tourists to Namibia in 2020, while Germany retained its position as the key tourist market outside Africa by contributing 11.6 percent of the total tourist arrivals.
Speaking at the virtual launch of the report, Namibian Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta said under the Tourism Revival Initiative, the country recorded 61,663 tourist arrivals for the period from September 2020 to March 2021.
“Although these figures are too low to sustain the sector, they are commendable and were worth the efforts of the government to open up our international airport and invite tourists back to Namibia as a safe destination during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
According to a report from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the economic fallout from COVID-19 has affected all tourism-related industries in Namibia, including travel agencies, hotels, and other short-stay accommodation, food, beverage suppliers, restaurants, wildlife conservancies, and other tourist destinations that depend on visitor spending.
The UNDP report said Namibia’s short-focus will have to shift to domestic tourism and attract more tourists from other sub-Saharan countries, such as South Africa, that have partially reopened their borders if the country is to recover from the dwindling figures of tourist arrivals.