Occupancy rates increase to nearly 40 percent in December

Martin Endjala

According to Simonis Storm Securities’ December 2023 hospitality statistics report, the month, characterized by festivities, offered a total of 51,192 rooms, of which 19,942 were occupied, resulting in a nationwide occupancy rate of 38.9 percent.

The report indicated that December of the previous year witnessed significant activity in the hospitality sector, with 69 participants across different regions.

Coastal areas led in terms of room occupancy during this period, followed by the Southern and Central regions.

This trend is attributed to the leisure activities commonly sought during the festive season, as people looked to relax and celebrate the end of the year.

Additionally, various festivals held in December played a role in attracting visitors from across Namibia to the coastal areas, with Swakopmund being the main destination.

The report highlighted that the recorded bed availability nationwide in December 2023 stood at 105,105, accompanied by an occupancy rate of 37.19 percent.

The festive season predominantly witnessed leisure travel, constituting 96.69 percent of all stays, solidifying Namibia’s reputation as a primary leisure destination.

Coastal region leisure occupancy was 99.9 percent, followed by 97.3 percent in the northern region.

Bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodations were the most preferred during the festive period, closely followed by hotels with rooms under 30.

Throughout the year, it is estimated that 59.7 percent of all guests at hospitality establishments nationwide were Europeans, with a notable portion hailing from German-speaking countries.

This represents an increase from the 51.5 percent recorded in 2019 and 52.0 percent in 2022. This shift is attributed to Europeans choosing to spend their holidays in warmer regions, as opposed to the winter season in Europe during the holiday period. In 2023, Namibian guests at nationwide establishments accounted for 22.7 percent, a decline from 26.7 percent in 2019 and 30.6 percent in 2022.

The significant share of Namibian guests further suggests ongoing local support for the tourism industry, although there is a slight decline in Namibian travellers, possibly influenced by the challenging high inflationary environment.

The report went on to highlight that in 2023, lodges were the most favoured accommodation type, with 407,805 beds sold, followed by hotels featuring rooms over 30, which recorded 182,658 beds sold.

Tented camps also demonstrated popularity, accounting for 119,651 beds sold.

Furthermore, across the nation, a significant majority of guests, totalling 89.7 percent, visited these establishments for leisure purposes, while 8.86 percent were engaged in business activities.

Conferences contributed to 1.36 percent of the overall guest presence during the year 2023.

Meanwhile, there is a positive outlook for the tourism industry in 2024, given the international travel industry’s notable shift towards upscale and quality-focused tourism.

This trend is particularly evident in Namibia, where there is an increasing development of properties tailored to offer luxurious travel experiences.

Concurrently, the global tourism market is observing a growing interest in premium camping experiences.

This shift towards ‘glamping’ or glamorous camping aligns with Namibia’s natural offerings, as the country is renowned for its vast, unspoiled landscapes.

Moreover, the upcoming Tourism Expo, themed “Beyond Borders,” further emphasizes Namibia’s commitment to promoting cross-border tourism and green investments, showcasing the country’s readiness to welcome a new era of travel that harmoniously blends adventure, culture, sustainability, and luxury.

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