ENTRY restrictions and quarantine measures are still firmly in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 but in Namibia, some compromises have been made to ensure the revival of the local tourism industry.
Namibia recently became one of a few countries to open its borders for visitors from abroad and from today onwards will be ready to welcome them as part of the Tourism Revival Initiative as announced by the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta last week.
MEFT spokesperson Romeo Muyunda, in a statement, said that special arrangements have been made to welcome tourists once the entry point at the Hosea Kutako International Airport re-opens.
The announcement of the tourism minister was confirmed by President Hage Geingob on Friday last week when he addressed the nation on the latest measures and intervention aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic in Namibia.
According to Muyunda tourists will come from the Hosea Kutako International Airport with pre-booked flights and itineraries. Upon arrival, visitors will have to proceed to the first destination where they are booked and will have to stay there for at least seven days before they will be allowed to visit other destinations in Namibia.
“If their initial destination is situated outside Windhoek, visitors are expected to go there directly without stopping anywhere Windhoek which is still under lockdown and only accessible with a special permit,” he said.
Muyunda noted that drivers transporting visitors will be given a special permit which will allow them to drive without facing challenges when passing through the capital.
Although diverse efforts have been made to stimulate domestic tourism during the various stages of the State of Emergency, the survival and revival of the tourism sector depends mainly on its ability to attract international tourists.
“We are all aware that the tourism sector has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic due to the closure of borders and the complete absence of visitors from abroad over the past six months,” Shifeta said during the announcement.
According to the tourism minister, it has had a terrible impact on direct and indirect beneficiaries of the tourism sector such as hotels, communal conservancies, travel agents, airlines, vehicle rental companies, tour operators, hunting operators as well as restaurants and entertainment facilities targeting tourists.