WINDHOEK, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Namibia's tourist inflows increased in April, suggesting that the pillar industry of the country's economy is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a research report released Monday.
The hotel occupancy rate in April reached 51.8 percent, compared with 36.5 percent recorded in the same month last year, said the report released by Simonis Storm Securities (SSS), an investment research firm, adding that it is the highest monthly occupancy rate so far this year.
According to the quarterly economic review, tourism is set to be one of the strongest drivers for the country's economy in 2023 as the South African nation is entering the peak tourism season spanning from May to September.
Noting that 22,610 rooms were sold in April, the report said "this is 65 percent lower compared to 65,449 rooms sold in April 2019. The gap between the change in rooms and occupancy rates can be explained by fewer tourism facilities available, as some of them were forced to shut down due to the lockdown put in place."
Leisure tourism continues to be the main driver of tourist inflows, accounting for 98.3 percent of visitors in April 2023, the company said.
"Going forward, we, therefore, expect regional tourist inflows and local tourism to decrease, with international tourist inflows being the main driver of the ongoing recovery in local tourism," it said.
Namibia received the first group of 20 tourists from China last week in three years due to the disruption of travel by the COVID-19 pandemic. .