Tourism can restart responsibly
Namibia opened its borders on a trial basis last Monday to tourists from a selected list of international markets, as it gears for the official reopening later this year.
10 August 2020 | Tourism
The responsible restart of tourism is underway around the world, as growing numbers of destinations ease coronavirus-related travel restrictions and adapt to the new normal. According to the latest analysis from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), 40% of all destinations worldwide have now eased the restrictions they placed on international tourism in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The United Nations specialised agency for tourism has been monitoring global responses to the pandemic from the start of the crisis. This latest outlook, recorded at the end of July, is up from 22% of destinations that had eased restrictions on travel by 15 June and the 3% previously observed by 15 May, the agency said. “It confirms the trend of a slow but continuous adaptation and the responsible restart of international tourism.”
Borders opened selectively
Last Monday, Namibia also opened its borders to tourists from a selected list of international markets, as it gears for the reopening of the borders later this year.
This trial period, which is due to end on 17 September, will help determine whether travellers from certain low-risk source markets can be considered for travel to Namibia once borders officially open.
The trial period is expected to red flag any potential risks ahead of the borders reopening, which will allow Namibia to make a more informed decision on how, for example, to allow travellers into the country and when.
Stage five, which is the lowest stage of the country's lockdown strategy, and focuses on the opening of points of entry and resumption of air travel, is expected to be rolled out on 18 September.
The UNTWO, however, said of the 87 destinations that have now eased travel restrictions, just four have completely lifted all restrictions, while 83 have eased them while keeping some measures, such as the partial closure of borders, in place. In addition, 115 destinations, 53% of all destinations worldwide, continue to keep their borders completely closed for tourism.
“The restart of tourism can be undertaken responsibly and in a way that safeguards public health while also supporting businesses and livelihoods.
As destinations continue to ease restrictions on travel, international cooperation is of paramount importance.
“This way, global tourism can gain people's trust and confidence, essential foundations as we work together to adapt to the new reality we now face,” UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said. According to the UNWTO, destinations with a higher dependency on tourism are more likely to ease restrictions on travel.
Last week, the organisation released data on the impact of the pandemic on tourism, both in terms of lost tourist arrivals and lost revenues. The data shows that already by the end of May, the pandemic had led to US$320 billion in lost revenues, three times the cost of the 2009 global economic crisis.