THE mandatory quarantining of international travellers for 14 days remains one of the main challenges the tourism sector will battle with once borders re-open.
This is according to Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) CEO, Digu Naobeb, who stated that a meeting scheduled with presidential advisors will unpack the challenges faced by the tourism sector in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Naobeb stated that in Stage 4 of the State of Emergency regulation, which starts on 30 June and runs until 17 September 2020, government will allow direct flights from destinations with limited COVID-19 infections.
He added that international tourist would also be required to come from higher income regions as they would have to pay for self-quarantine as well.
These foreign travellers would be allowed to enter into the country with COVIC-19 free health certificates and would have to be tested for the virus again upon entry, and undergo a mandatory two-week quarantine period at their own cost.
Naobeb, however, emphasised that the 14 days of quarantine is a thorn in the tourism sector’s flesh as most clients have cancelled their bookings as Namibia is already a long-haul destination.
He added that international IAATA rules also require that crew members disembark from their flights and rest when arriving at destinations, which results in the quarantining of crew members.
“Expenditure costs of quarantine will be difficult for both airliners and tourists. Currently, government determines which quarantine facilities. On Friday we will meet with the Presidential advisors to see possibilities of how quarantine can be best adjusted to tourists, as well as business needs,” Naobeb said.
Queried on the affordability of tourism to local travellers and prices being made affordable to encourage local travel, Naobeb stated that Namibia is a free market economy, and prices should not be colluded.
He, however, stated that certain segments in the tourism industry should be identified and made affordable for local travellers as tourism remains a luxury item in Namibia.