Criminal activities negatively affect tourism sector

21 Jan 2016 17:30pm
WINDHOEK, 21 JAN (NAMPA) – An increase in criminal activities across lodges in Namibia had a severe effect on the tourism sector during the last quarter of 2015, according to the latest tourism index.
The tourism index, issued by the First National Bank of Namibia (FNB) and the Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations (Fenata) on Wednesday, says the tourism index dipped 10.5 per cent as bed occupancy rates and passenger arrivals declined in the third quarter of last year compared to year before.
“The sector continues to face challenges which unfortunately derailed the operations of several tourism vendors in the third quarter.
“Other vendors cited an increase in criminal activities across the lodges in Namibia. Safety and security is an area that will need to be beefed-up in order to maintain the same level of professionalism,” it emphasised.
On a positive note, a total of 47 per cent of tourism vendors cited acceleration in overall business performance as they recorded higher sales numbers.
Tourist activity further increased by 43.3 per cent during the period under review according to various tour operators.
The reverse in trend will likely lift the slump within the sector, said the index. With increase in demand, prices at restaurants and lodges were adjusted.
The estimated 17 per cent upward adjustment further ushered an increase in capital expenditure by 47.1 per cent of respondents. It also said 24.7 per cent of the respondents further increased their staff capacity in order to meet the demand in the market. The view in the market was that the weakening currency spiked the interest of several tourists from the United States of America (USA) and Europe, who were keen to enjoy the various tourist packages that were on offer at both lodges and game reserves.
Meanwhile, the final quarter of 2015 is expected to record positive numbers. According to 61 per cent of the vendors interviewed, tourist numbers are expected to increase across the board which will have a ripple effect on sales and revenue. About 26.1 per cent of the businesses are confident that the fourth quarter would prove to be the best quarter of the year in terms of business performance.
Overall improvement in service delivery in the sector is expected to aid the outcome of the December tourism season as well.
A recent international report on tourism indicated that most of the global tourists emanate from Asian countries. This bodes well for several African countries which continue to offer superior experiences for the global tourists.
“Looking ahead 2016 should lead to increased spending by tourists in Namibia as the South African Rand continues to free fall against global currencies.
“Government and tourist operators should place concerted efforts in advertising Namibia as a cheap and friendly tourist destination in order to capitalise on current markets,” the index added.