Tourism to Namibia continues to develop as shown by the arrival figures for 2017.
Released on Thursday by the tourism minister, Hon Pohamba Shifeta, the 2017 visitors statistics show that the total number of foreign arrivals was 1,608,018, and increase of 2.2% compared to 2016.
Some 1.5 million visitors or just more than 93% of all arrivals, are bona fide tourists. Just over 400,000 came from overseas with the rest coming from the region. The top 10 markets in 2017 were Angola, South Africa, Zambia, Germany, Zimbabwe, Botswana, United Kingdom, France, USA and Switzerland.
Arrivals from Angola increased by 1.1% to just over one million people while arrivals from South Africa dipped by nearly 5%. Only 24% of African visitors came to Namibia on holiday with the bulk, 56%, visiting family and friends. However, of the overseas tourists, the vast majority, 78%, came for holiday.
Arrivals from Germany continued to grow even after the record growth of 2016. Some 123,000 Germans chose Namibia as their holiday destination in 2017. Arrivals from Austria and Switzerland also showed healthy growth.
The United Kingdom remained Namibia’s second biggest European feeder market but the numbers are modest compared to the German arrivals. Nevertheless, all markets increased in numbers except the Netherlands and Portugal.
With only 14,000 Chinese visiting, the contribution from Asia remains negligible. In contrast, from the United States and Canada came almost 40,000 visitors. Surprisingly, the number of visitors form the United Arab Emirates and from Brazil also showed solid growth.
Most tourists travelled to Namibia in July in 2017 (154,368). European tourists particularly favoured July and October. Across all markets, the average trip covered 19 days.
“We are delighted that Namibia was able to achieve such positive growth again in 2017,” said Tourism Board Chief Executive, Digu //Naobeb. “The strategic marketing and PR work of the Namibia Tourism Board and the dedication of our Namibian and international partners have helped not only maintain the high level of 2016 but also build on it further.”
“In the future we are looking to attract international visitors to lesser-known regions of the country as well to provide some relief for the well-booked main routes,” he said adding that the goal is to maintain the boutique character of the country while protecting its natural resources.
Several hundred orphans and vulnerable children have experienced the joy of Christmas at special Christmas parties organised or sponsored by the Ohlthaver & List group in Ondangwa, Walvis Bay and Windhoek. This special year-end treat has been given by the group for many years.
In Walvis Bay and Windhoek the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Christmas parties are organised by subsidiaries of the O&L Group while the Ondangwa event is organised by the Oonte OVC Organisation with support from the group.
Tanja Payne of Hangana Seafood in Walvis Bay said the coastal event has grown to be loved, adored and appreciated by the entire community. It has also attracted a number of external sponsors such as Omega Security, Afrox, The Fun Shop, Party Kids, Sanitec, Chip & Dip, Jolly Lolly, Tiny Cooks Walvis Bay, Marlene & Monja, Walvis Bay Fire Brigade, SPUR Walvis Bay, Mpact and Namventures.
“The entire O&L Group and subsidiaries always stand ready and contribute immeasurably to this exciting and very meaningful event on our calendar. I am always impressed and appreciative of the support from our own people but I am also extremely grateful for the external support that adds great value to this special occasion,” she said.
During the course of this year, O&L’s Shoebox project reached another 1000 children collectively from Genade Kinderbewaarhuis, Dolam Children’s House, Dordabis Pre-Primary, Side by Side Early Intervention Centre in Windhoek; Walvis Bay Kids Haven, Sunshine & JJ’s Care Centres in Walvis Bay; Oosterheim Laerskool in Aroab; AA Denk Memorial School in Kalkrand; Hope Children’s Centre in Tsumeb, Tears of Hope in Swakopmund, Sonop Primary School in Mariental and the Mainstream Foundation in Katima.
O&L CSI Coordinator, Venessa Mwiya, said “Both the O&L OVC Christmas parties and the Shoebox project are part of our highlights for the year and remain the most loved events for our O&L Group employees.”
“Zero waste to landfill should be a mindset that encourages everyone to add value to the things we use and the environment we live in and to save our valuable planet for future generations,” said Gys Louw when he announced that recycled waste is playing an ever-increasing role as an alternative source of energy.
Rent-A-Drum said tonnes of additional waste is generated during the festive season, but it has found a willing partner in Ohorongo Cement who generates as much as 40% of the energy for its kilns from alternative sources, including waste that is not fit for conventional recycling.
“If all waste is collected and taken to the Rent-A-Drum waste management centres in the Khomas, Erongo and Oshana regions, Ohorongo Cement will ensure that it is disposed of in a sustainable manner,” stated Louw.
Ohorongo burns processed, none-recyclable material along with other alternative fuels to fire the kiln, which is the key process of cement manufacturing. The kiln has gas temperatures of up to 2000 °C ensuring complete combustion and destruction of all organic substances, resulting in no harmful emissions.
This year, Ohorongo disposed of over 70 trucks of none-recyclable material as alternative fuel, alongside wood chips and charcoal dust in its kiln. For the past six months, Ohorongo’s kiln has been running on over 40% alternative fuels.
“It’s exciting to see how much none recyclable materials we can use in the cement manufacturing processes and even though we utilise other alternative fuels the refuse-derived fuels make a huge difference. If every Namibian can make it their ‘way of living’ to ensure that all waste is disposed in a responsible manner, Namibia can become a clean country,” said Jean Amaambo the Alternative Fuel Administrator.
“The environment belong to all of us and we have a collective responsibility to take care of it. That is why our operations is set up in a way that we are able to ensure that less waste is send to the landfill by utilising processed none recyclable waste as alternative fuel in our process,” said Junge Jansen, Ohorongo’s Environmental Coordinator.
Caption: Jean Amaambo the Alternative Fuel Administrator at Ohorongo Cement in the Refuse-derived fuel shed.