By Hilary Mare
OVER the decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in Namibia.
Whilst modern tourism is closely linked to development and encompasses a growing number of new destinations, these dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socio-economic progress.
Today, the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of certain commodity exports, food products or agriculture. Tourism has become one of the major players in international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main income sources for many developing countries with Namibia certainly not an exception.
Due to the fact that this growth goes hand in hand with a increasing diversification and competition among destinations, this global spread of tourism in developing states has produced economic and employment benefits in many related sectors – from construction to agriculture or telecommunications.
The is why the over 1.5 million people who arrived in Namibia in 2015, representing a three percent increase from 2014 when 1.4 million arrivals were recorded authenticate that tourism will remain a cornerstone for economic development and will push Namibia towards its prosperity chase under the Harambee Prosperity Plan for all.
Essentially so, because out of the total foreign arrivals recorded, the larger number of 1.38 million were tourists, 15 580 were returning residents and 99 883 were same-day visitors.
Revealed by the recently released 2015 tourist statistical report, the tourism sector is still healthy and has shown growth. It further indicates that tourist figures increased by 5.1 percent for the same period.
The tourist figures indicate that overall, the tourism market for Namibia in 2015 was dominated by top 10 tourist markets which include Angola, South Africa, Zambia, Germany, United Kingdom, United States and France.
However, a decline in the Angolan tourist arrivals was observed in 2015 which could be attributed to the financial crisis that was experienced due to the phasing out of the U.S dollar in that country.
Withstanding the view that tourism remains Namibia’s pride, the World Travel and Tourism Council WTTC’s latest annual research, in conjunction with Oxford Economics, shows that travel and tourism’s contribution to world GDP grew for the sixth consecutive year in 2015, rising to a total of 9.8 percent of world GDP (US$7.2 trillion).
The sector now supports 284 million people in employment – that’s one in 11 jobs on the planet. The sector is set to face macroeconomic conditions and other challenges in 2016, but nevertheless expected to perform at a solid growth rate and outperform global economic growth once again. Travel and Tourism forecasts over the next 10 years also look extremely favourable with predicted growth rates of four percent annually.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015