WINDHOEK: Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) Chief Executive Officer Digu //Naobeb says one million tourists visited Namibia last year.
He made the announcement during a sundowner tourism briefing about the status and performance of the tourism industry in general held at Von Bach Dam near Okahandja last Friday.
“We reached a milestone with one million arrivals in Namibia in 2011,” he noted.
Positive growth was reported amongst visitors from South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, and the northern American market, particularly from the United States of America (USA).
However, preliminary results have shown that traditional markets, in particular the United Kingdom, Europe, France, and Italy showed a negative growth due to the economic crisis.
He said after several discussions with stakeholders in the tourism industry recently, NTB noted that there is still a perception out there that the Namibian market is not competitively priced compared to neighbouring countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
“We do not price ourselves competitively enough when compared to our neighbours, such as South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe… These are worrying signals and we will see how best we can work to address them,” he noted.
//Naobeb said the current tourist departure survey spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) about ratings for accommodation establishments, tourist destinations, food, and customer services might serve to steer the industry in the right direction.
On a more positive note, the occupancy figures at tourist destinations showed an upward trend with a two per cent increase in September 2012 compared to last year, according to preliminary results.
//Naobeb said this figure represents an increase of locals that go on official trips, or attend funerals and weddings or other events.
He encouraged locals to make use of the various special rates that are made available at various destinations for locals as well as SADC citizens.
New establishments have opened their doors in the northern parts of the country, at places such as Ondangwa, Oshakati, Ongwediva.
The NTB chief, however, noted that the increase in retrenchments within the industry is a worrisome factor.