THE Namibian tourism sector was completely paralysed by measures introduced to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The lack of activity due to the restriction of people’s movements, the compulsory closure of leisure and catering facilities due to the dangers of travelling had a devastating effect on the industry which is one of the main contributors to the country’s economy.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, said the national economy suffered a severe blow after the tourism sector ground to a standstill.
During the early briefing at the National COVID-19 Information Centre today, Shifeta said that the restrictions on travel due and the closure of borders coupled with the pressure on the healthcare system in Namibia, resulted in the temporary closure of many lodges, hotels and other hospitality businesses.
“As a result, many workers lost their jobs, while others were sent home while many operators wait for the industry to restart.
Chairman of the Namibia Tourism Association (NTA), Bernd Schneider, said not even local travellers are able to access lodges or restaurants during the State of Emergency which keeps people in the hospitality industry without the ability to generate revenue.
Schneider further noted that it is estimated that the tourism sector in Namibia will lose about N$2 billion during COVID-19 pandemic.
Digu //Naobeb, Chief Executive Officer of Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) said millions in lost revenue could result in the Gross Domestic Product of the country dropping by several percentage points, as well as the loss of thousands of jobs.
//Naobeb, predicted that it will take quite a long time for airlines, car rental companies, hotels, safari operators, restaurants and holiday resorts to fully recover after the restart of activities.
However in an effort to mitigate the complete destruction of the tourism industry, role players the sector are exploring ways to recover quickly after the borders reopen and international travels are allowed to return to Namibia.