Tourist cancellations cost Namibia N$116m

09 September 2020 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



Since the announcement of the tourism revival initiative and opening of the Hosea Kutako International Airport, the tourism industry has not seen any new bookings, while cancellations resulted in a loss of N$115.7 million.

This was confirmed yesterday by tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta when he announced amendments to the international tourism revival protocols. International tourists will now be able to proceed to their pre-booked destinations in Namibia upon their arrival in the country and will no longer be confined to one establishment for seven days after they arrive.

Tourists will then be swabbed for the coronavirus on day five anywhere they find themselves in the country. They must also be available to receive their results on day seven.





The protocols for the tourism revival initiative were first announced on 25 August and implemented on 1 September.

So far, 100 tourist facilities have applied for certification to accommodate tourists and these applications are being processed by the health ministry.

Shifeta said Hosea Kutako International Airport, as the designated port of entry for the trial period of this initiative, has the necessary health and safety measures in place to receive arrivals.

“All airlines with bilateral aviation safety agreements with Namibia were engaged and positive responses have been received, with the major airlines keen to restart their services to Namibia.” Shifeta said Ethiopian Airlines indicated that it would resume flights to Namibia on 11 September, while the Lufthansa Group plans to resume flights to Namibia from 19 September.

“Air Namibia has also indicated its intention to resume international flights.

These historical flights will be to promote the reopening of Namibia as a tourism destination to the world. It is our intention as the ministry responsible for tourism to receive and welcome our very first tourists to Namibia after a long period of lockdown.”

Shifeta stressed the tourism sector is highly competitive and Namibia is competing with countries from all over the world to attract tourists.

“The fact that other countries in the region have opened up their borders with fewer restrictions has put Namibia at a disadvantage. However, there are still bookings in the system, as tourists hope for more appealing protocols and arrangements to be put in place.”

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