Namibia ready to open for tourists

The intention was to conduct the tourism revival strategy from 15 July, but following lengthy a lengthy consultation process it could now commence.

04 August 2020 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The targeted international tourism revival initiative has been approved to start this week.

President Hage Geingob announced this on Friday, saying that the approval was subject to agreed protocols.

He said the intention was to conduct the strategy from 15 July, but following lengthy a lengthy consultation process it could now commence.

Geingob said the details would be finalised by a national task team to be constituted by tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta, consisting of sector representatives and key institutions.



No quarantine

“Among the salient points to highlight are that international tourists arriving in Namibia will be required to represent a 72-hour negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test result.”

Geingob said tourists would not be subjected to mandatory quarantine.

“They will, however, be required to remain at their first destination in the country for a period of seven days.”

According to Geingob a Covid-19 test will be conducted during this period and the tourists will be permitted to proceed with their holiday on day seven, provided the test result is negative.

He said the modalities have been carefully negotiated to achieve the dual objective of stimulating the tourism sector and safeguarding public health.

“Continuous assessments will be conducted throughout this trial, which will inform and strengthen preparations for the imminent reopening of points of entry under Stage 5.”



Low-risk countries

Shifeta said they have identified low-risk countries such as Germany from which tourists can travel to Namibia.

He said the task team would periodically review the initiative during the trial phase.

The team will consist of members of the tourism ministry, stakeholders in the tourism sector, the home affairs, finance, works, health and finance ministries, and the Namibia Airports Company. Shifeta emphasised that tourists would only be able to stay at accommodation establishments certified by the health ministry.

The tourism industry had previously recommended that Namibia should open its borders to Germany, Botswana and Ethiopia.The Namibia Professional Hunting Association (Napha) said over the past few months the Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations (Fenata) proposed steps and suggested measures to responsibly open borders.

According to Napha the understanding was that visitors could enter the country via the Hosea Kutako International Airport, present a negative coronavirus test result not older than 72 hours, as well as a full travel itinerary and complete a health questionnaire.

It said that a retest would be done on day four or five and upon receipt of the negative results, visitors may tour the country, subject to local rules, regulations and protocols

“A task team consisting of airlines, airport companies, tourism stakeholders and government representatives as well as the Namibia Tourism Board are busy drafting a final protocol, including medical evacuation protocols in case of emergencies.”

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