Path to economic recovery

Revitalise tourism, hospitality
Despite its importance, the tourism industry faced severe setbacks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, necessitating strategic interventions for recovery.
Josef Kefas Sheehama - The global tourism industry, contributing approximately 10% to the global gross domestic product (GDP), holds immense significance. In Namibia, hotels and restaurants, a gauge for tourism, are still recovering from the Covid-19 impact and contributed about N$2.4 billion to the real GDP in 2023.

The sector’s indirect contribution was significantly more.

The ministry of environment, forestry and tourism aims to rejuvenate the tourism sector by emphasising domestic tourism and marketing Namibia as a safe holiday destination.

Acknowledging the Namibian Tourism Board’s role, the ministry’s active involvement is deemed critical in navigating the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Domestic tourism

While domestic tourism offers potential for quick recovery, it too has been significantly impacted by Covid-19 containment measures.

Government initiatives, including financial support, are crucial for the survival of businesses within the tourism ecosystem. Structural changes to tourist destinations addressing health requirements and visitor expectations are imperative.

The crisis serves as an opportunity to rethink and reshape the future of tourism.

Governments must consider the longer-term implications, capitalise on digitalisation, support low-carbon transitions and promote structural transformations for a sustainable and resilient tourism economy.

The sector’s recovery, hindered by ongoing negative macroeconomic variables, necessitates a phased approach and innovation.


The potential of domestic tourism remains constrained due to international geopolitics, influencing consumer behaviour.

This presents an opportunity to accelerate the transition to digitalisation, emphasising and fostering demand for eco-friendly experiences.

Namibia must ensure continuous innovation, invest in structural changes and address environmentally friendly practices for a robust recovery.

Domestic tourism, with the right strategy and incentives, can lead the economic recovery. Product innovation, pricing reforms and community empowerment are crucial for rebuilding the domestic tourism industry.

As the world adapts to pandemic-induced changes, the hospitality industry is slowly returning. Prioritising domestic tourism requires vigorous marketing, product development and incentives to stimulate demand.


Furthermore, to capitalise on emerging trends, the tourism and hospitality sectors should adopt technological innovations, embrace sustainability, offer unique experiences, engage on social media, prioritise guest safety and invest in wellness amenities.

Staying adaptable and customer-focused is key.

As these sectors change rapidly, they must partner with digital engineering workforces to provide maximum value to brands and guests. This can benefit the local community economically and socially and facilitate interaction between tourists and locals for a mutually enriching experience.

Hence, it is irrefutable that the tourism and hospitality industries are becoming more significant economic forces and have the potential to be used as tools for development. These industries not only drive growth, but also raise people's standards of living with their ability to provide a significant number of diverse employment opportunities.

Green and digital

The future of the tourism and hospitality sector in 2024 looks tech-savvy and eco-friendly.

In addition, the Namibian tourism and hospitality industry are gearing up for promising technological advancements, with early indicators and expert insights pointing towards robust recovery.

This positive trend is attributed to the strength of online reservations and self-drive segments in Namibia.

Hospitality performance indicators have outperformed the broader tour operation sector, positioning online reservations and self-drive as frontrunners in the industry’s recovery and growth.

As the tourism and hospitality landscape evolves in Namibia, we must rethink what this means to us, to stakeholders, and their involvements.

It is imperative that we continue to innovate as we strive to respond quickly to market needs, to elevate tourist experiences, and recapture revenue to optimise returns. Whether it's through personalised experiences, sustainability and eco-friendly practices, or the use of technology, the future holds many opportunities to innovate and excel.

Take advantage of these trends and get ready to elevate to new heights.


Therefore, the key to success in tourism and hospitality is to stay flexible and adaptable to change.

The tourism and hospitality industry is dynamic and ever-evolving, and by staying informed and open to new ideas, one can not only survive but thrive in this fast-paced and competitive market.

Hence, there are many more trends emerging and shaping the future of the tourism industry, and hospitality that stays ahead of the game will be the ones that succeed in the long run.

So, stay informed, stay ahead of the curve and make the most of the exciting opportunities that the future holds for these sectors.

In conclusion, tourism and hospitality play a crucial role in the growth of any economy. They are interdependent industries that complement each other to create an overall positive impact.

Tourism helps generate revenue for local economies by attracting visitors from different parts of the world, while hospitality ensures their comfort and satisfaction during their stay.

Therefore, a revamped version of these industries in Namibia holds the potential to increase revenue, generate employment and alleviate poverty. Public-private partnerships, community involvement and well-being initiatives are key to ensuring a thriving and sustainable future for these sectors.

* Josef Kefas Sheehama is an independent economist.