Windhoek — Tourist arrivals will decline by 20% this year, the Bank of Namibia said this week.
“The tourism industry has been experiencing increased booking cancellations and it is expected that tourist arrivals will decline by about 20% during 2009,” the central bank said in its economic outlook mid year revision released in Windhoek.
It said the hotel and restaurant category, which is used as a proxy for the tourism industry, is expected to contract by 20% this year. A decline of 5% is projected for 2010.
The central bank said the global economic crisis has started to have an impact on the industry, which has seen a decline in tourist arrivals and increased booking cancellations compared to the 2007 to 2008 preliminary figures.
The central bank said the closure of Air Namibia route to London is expected to have a negative impact on the industry, as most tourists do not like connecting flights, resulting in them changing their destination to elsewhere
“The bookings are down by 5% to 20% and there has been an increase in booking cancellations. The hunting season, which already started on 1 May, has also recorded a decline in bookings. The loss in profits for the industry is estimated to range between 0% to 5% for 2008 and projected at 20% in 2009,” the central bank said.
Air Namibia said in April that it would suspend all flights to the UK as from the end of May. The decision was taken as the London-Gatwick route had been making the most losses since February this year. The airline said the decision was taken in light of the current recession and its effect on aviation worldwide. Air Namibia said it was strained to re-assess its route network and offering to ensure the equilibrium between supply and demand.
Passengers are now flown to and from Windhoek via Frankfurt, with connections to and from London-Heathrow Airport using commercial agreements with interline partners.