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Tourists weigh in on state of roads

Tourists weigh in on state of roads

Gert Jacobie

TOURISTS are warning that Namibia is losing a lot of revenue due to the state of roads leading to the hottest spots around the country.
Visitors on the high end of the income scale are mostly advanced in years and might very well strike Namibia’s many scenic destinations from their bucket list as that means travelling on roads that are poorly maintained and thus pose a threat to their safety and health.
A letter delivered to the management at one of the southern lodges en route to the immensely popular Sossusvlei and Sesriem area, states that older tourists are in danger of being injured or have existing conditions made worse by travelling, amongst others, the C27 gravel road leading south.
They are planning to bring their complaints to the attention of the Minister of the Environment and Tourism.

Photos: Andreas Lange

The concerned tourist group, travelling by tour bus, also suggests foreign lodge owners should be compelled to contribute to road maintenance as part of their investment.
The lady who drafted the letter, which is still a mere concept it seems, go on to say Namibia can lose much if elder visitors feel they are in harm’s way travelling bad roads, while young visitors on budget does not contribute equally to what tourists spend.
The state of the roads leading to the Sossusvlei tourist complex in the south western sector of Namibia is no secret and the inaction from the Roads Department is notorious.
To this end, the benevolent do-gooder, Chris Theron, previously a senior manager in the department of transport undertook to weigh in on efforts to rehabilitate the road of sorrows leading to the Sossus Complex where lodges and campsites are mushrooming.
Private funds are needed to make the project possible, as the Roads Authority and the Road Fund is running short.
Plans to launch a massive civil project in this regard are underway. In current political and economic times, that is, however, a mammoth task, made even more difficult by a basic difficulty of finding enough water in that area to re-compact sections of the roads, carrying hundreds of vehicles daily.
A financing plan and aid is urgently needed to save tourism as a very important contributor to the Namibia economy.
According to Theron timing is of the utmost importance, because construction machinery and work teams will have to be on site when the first rains fall, or chaos might ensue, resulting in more tragic road deaths.
Namibia is notorious for the number of road deaths annually and this has become an issue with travellers and foreign visitors.

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