THE COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the tourism sector in Namibia but stakeholders are working extremely hard to put the industry back on the road to recovery.
Gitta Paetzold, the Chief Executive Officer of the Hospitality Association of Namibia, said they will see that entering 2021 with renewed vigour and hope for a tourism revival that will see Namibia become the “destination of choice” for world travellers wishing to escape the confines of lockdowns.
Paetzold noted that it is thus a great disappointment for the hospitality sector and HAN, to note, that authorities have decided to uphold the strict ban on alcohol sales on Sundays and Public Holidays, which includes all Christmas days and festivities and thus heavily impacts the business and income opportunities for this sector over the next 2 weeks.
“We have come a long way and the path through 2020 was a difficult one, especially for the tourism sector,” said Paetzold.
There have been many ups and downs, moving back and forward through various stages of COVID-19 restrictions, alcohol bans, regional lockdowns, and then the launch of Namibia’s tourism revival initiative in September.
According to Paetzold, they are hopeful, that this positive trend and trust could be further expanded, and especially the hospitality and catering sector was working towards the further relaxing of measures, especially in view of the providing the very popular wining and dining experience for guests, especially during the holiday and Festive Season.
Paetzold also appealed to the public to act responsibly, to avoid crowds, to respect the rules like the wearing of masks, sanitizing, and other safety measures that are geared to curb the spread of the virus.
“All the hard work and good intentions towards the tourism revival effort is at risk if every stakeholder does not stand together to make it work for us as a country and as a nation,” she said.
She said the protocols are in place for all public places, from airports, malls, tourism sites, and all places where social gatherings take place.