Four land borders open

15 October 2020 | Tourism



The home affairs ministry has announced that four land border posts will be open for entry into Namibia with immediate effect, following chaos that erupted this past weekend when tourists were turned away at the Noordoewer and Ariamsvlei border posts.

In a public notice issued yesterday, home affairs minister Frans Kapofi said that the Katima Mulilo, Ariamsvlei, Noordoewer and Walvis Bay border posts will all be open. He said this is subject to applicable health regulations.

“In terms of Regulation 8 (3) (b) of the Public Health Covid-19 General Regulations: Public and Environmental Health Act, 2015 I hereby, by this notice designate the following ports of entry for the purpose of entry into and departure from Namibia, subject to applicable health regulations, effective immediately,” Kapofi said.

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula this weekend said that no international tourists may enter Namibia by road, but only via the Hosea Kutako and Walvis Bay airports.

This resulted in tourists being turned away at land border posts or quarantined, even though tourists were previously allowed to enter Namibia through Noordoewer and Ariamsvlei since 1 October.

The issue was discussed on Tuesday at a cabinet meeting, resulting in the announcement of the four borders being opened.

The spokesperson for the tourism ministry, Romeo Muyunda, on Tuesday said: “We believe all this confusion will be resolved by the cabinet decision as per our recommendations.”

He said the Tourism Revival Initiative was being implemented as per the current approved protocols and that cabinet needs to give approval for the opening of land borders.

“We have submitted our Tourism Revival Initiative report for the pilot phase that ended 30 September and in that we made recommendations on the way forward, including opening of the land borders with countries that has open up theirs as well.”

He said the proposal was to open up Ariamsvlei and Noordoewer on the South African side and Wenela on the Zambian side.

“Angola and Botswana are still under state of emergency and borders are closed.”

Industry protests

Meanwhile, Gondwana Collection Namibia and other tourism operators on Tuesday parked their cars on the pavement of Nelson Mandela Drive in Windhoek as they started a peaceful protest action called #SOSTourism.

It is aimed at creating awareness and starting a countrywide conversation on how to assist the tourism industry where 120 000 jobs and thousands of companies are at risk.

According to Gondwana, #SOSTourism advocates for more practical regulations to allow the tourism industry the opportunity to survive without posing any additional threat to the health of Namibians.

“These include removing impractical, costly and logistically complicated second test on day five, opening of all borders, including land borders, for all tourism, removing quarantine distinctions between Namibians and tourists and accepting negative test on arrival for all visitors and returning residents.”

The campaign also wants more diplomatic efforts to remove Namibia from international red lists.

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