Samuel Shinedima & Niël Terblanché
THE Namibian tourism industry publicly thanked the Namibian Government for opening certain border posts with immediate effect.
In a statement issued by Gondwana Collection, Namibia’s premier tourism operator, the company also thanked the Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, Frans Kapofi.
“The first hurdle has been overcome. The quick action taken by the ministry has brought great relief for many Namibians who are trying their best to fight through this very confusing time. We hope that this will open the doors for further engagement, and discussions between all parties to revive Namibian Tourism,” the statement reads.
The home affairs minister earlier on Wednesday announced officially that the border posts at Katima Mulilo, Ariamsvlei, Noordoewer, and the Walvis Bay Harbour have been opened.
In the meantime, Gondwana was joined by several other operators in the sector in their #SOSTourism campaign.
The campaign is aimed at creating awareness and to start a countrywide conversation on how to assist the tourism industry where 120 000 jobs, which include tour guides, craftsman, artists, and entire communities, as well as several conservation initiatives, and thousands of companies and SME’s are at risk of collapsing completely.
The #SOSTourism campaign is still advocating for more practical regulations to allow the tourism industry the opportunity to survive without posing any additional threat to the health of Namibians.
In this regard, the industry has put forward certain suggestions that still need some discussion with the relevant authorities and the list include:
• Removing impractical, costly, and logistically complicated second test on day 5.
• Open all borders including land borders for all tourism – Selected land borders have just been opened! Thank you!
• Accept validity of a rapid test as per WHO recommendations to limit cost and invasiveness of testing for individuals
• Remove quarantine distinctions between Namibian citizens and tourists and accept negative test on arrival for all visitors and returning residents
• Diplomatic efforts to remove Namibia as a destination from international red lists
“Tourism affects every single Namibian, whether directly or indirectly,” Gondwana’s statement reads.