Hospitality outlook: 2019-2023

9th Annual edition: Unparalleled experience

PwC’s team of hotel specialists provide an unbiased overview of how the hotel industry in South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Kenya and Tanzania is expected to develop over the coming years.


Overall room revenue in South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Kenya and Tanzania rose 7.4% in 2018, up from the 1.9% increase in 2017, principally reflecting a 28 percentage point turnaround in Kenya, a 15.4 percentage point turnaround in Tanzania, as well as a 7.2 percentage point improvement in Nigeria. Mauritius continued to grow at double-digit rates in 2018 but room revenue growth in South Africa fell to only 0.5%.

The Namibian accommodation landscape is made up of approximately 3 100 hospitality businesses that are registered with the Namibia Tourism Board. These occupy a range of segments, including hotels, pensions, lodges, tented lodges, backpackers, B&Bs, campsites and guest farms. Of registered accommodation businesses, approximately 580 relate to hunting farms, which are considered to be a separate market segment.

The hospitality and tourism industry in Namibia contributed N$5.2 billion to the country’s GDP in 2017, 3.5% of total GDP. The industry also provided direct employment for 44 700.

(Main picture: Montecasino - Image courtesy of Tsogo Sun)


Otjimbondona Lodge in Namibia

Image courtesy of Otjimbondona Lodge

Strand Hotel Presidential suite, Namibia

Image courtesy of Strand Hotel

Key trends

  • Namibia has been targeting the Asian (China), American (United States of America) markets and has seen a small growth in Chinese arrivals to Namibia.
  • Leisure tourism to Namibia contracted slightly in 2018 and it is expected to decline in 2019.
  • Overall 10-year leisure tourism growth has been only at 6.5%


Accommodation statistics

On average, the number of beds available for the year was 399 278. The number of beds sold varied between 43 998 in December and 180 537 in August, but averaged 143 514.

The occupancy rate ranged between 25.3% in February to 49.2% in October 20xx, with annual average occupancy of 35.94%. Occupancy figures from 2013 to 2017 suggest that there has been no growth in the Namibian Hospitality and Tourism industry, during this period.

Namibia ranks higher than all other Southern African countries besides South Africa for both safety and security and tourist service infrastructure. It is third behind Mauritius and South Africa among countries analysed in this report. Further improvements in these areas will help Namibia boost its tourism market, while greater efficiency in its tax regime could help improve the contribution of the sector to the economy

Woman standing at a travel desk

The economy

Following a period of strong growth, the Namibian economy entered a sharp slowdown, beginning in 2015.

It is expected that the economy will continue to recover slowly following the contraction in GDP experienced in 2017.Growth is expected to reach 2% in 2020 and gradually move to a steady rate of 3%, or more.

Tourist arrivals

To provide a clear picture of the hospitality and tourism market in Namibia, we have divided total arrivals figure into two categories: leisure tourists and business/friends & family-related travellers. Total arrivals in 2017 reached 1 608 018, an increase of 2.2% on 2016. However, 73.8% of visitors were from neighbouring countries and predominantly fell in the business/friends & family-related travellers category. Only 19.9% (320 139) arrived from Europe (mainly leisure tourism), 2.5% from North America (mainly hunters and leisure tourism) and 3.8% from the rest of the world.

An analysis of the total number of arrivals would suggest that the hospitality and tourism industry in Namibia is growing. This is not the case when the detailed figures of the source markets and market segments are taken into account.

Recent developments

The biggest challenge for accommodation providers in Namibia is the lack of technological enablement, resulting in a high dependence on a value chain (supplier-destination management company (DMC)-wholesale-retail-traveller) that is no longer sustainable.

This leaves providers having to pay more commissions and offer lower rates in order to stay competitive and/or become dependent on global market dominating online travel agents.

While the market segments this value chain addresses (age group 50+ in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and North America predominantly) will shrink in the future, the important 30-45 age group can’t be attracted by this value chain as this generation prefers to do all their bookings online.

This results in a situation in which the accommodation providers give away between 60% and 80% or more of their profits to intermediaries. As a result, little tourism spend is being left in Namibia to pay for maintenance and rejuvenation of accommodation, or staff training and education. This impacts the quality of the guest experience.

The majority of the leisure travellers are from the German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) followed by other European countries. They tend to be in the 60+ age group.

Namibian hospitality and tourism businesses need to collaborate and invest in a digital transformation strategy in order to gain back control of visibility, reputation and distribution in order to sustain and grow the industry.

Other factors also need to be addressed to increase Namibia’s attractiveness as a tourist destination. These include road infrastructure, safety & security and water supply, together with the overall value for money that the country offers visitors.


Contact us

Ansie Rossouw

Ansie Rossouw

Partner in Charge Walvis Bay, PwC Namibia

Tel: +264 64 217 700

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