• July 14th, 2020

HAN wants responsible reopening of borders

The Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) says although Namibia received praise for jump-starting the local tourism sector by opening hospitality establishments, it wants to see an orderly and responsible reopening of the country’s borders to reinvigorate the crucial tourism sector.
HAN said its peers in the tourism sector in SADC envy Namibia for the progressive approach to a gradual reopening, which yesterday, at the start of Stage 3 saw the reopening of the restaurant sector with the possibility to revitalise the “wine and dine” experience that Namibia is so well known for.

HAN CEO Gitta Paetzold said people across the globe envy Namibians for being able to travel in the country of wide-open spaces, where social distancing comes naturally. However, she says, the tourism industry needs tourists – the lifeblood of this sector to survive.
“And in view of this, we have prompted leaders to now continue the progression by taking up inter-ministerial and bi-lateral discussions to find ways for a careful, gradual and responsible re-opening of borders and the re-establishment of travel links. Be it through air-bridges, travel bubbles or other safe and controlled links to selected source markets, where people are keen to travel to the wide wonders of open Africa, and willing to submit to checks and restrictions before entering Namibia as a travel destination,” Paetzold suggested.

As the world is gradually lifting the restrictive travel bans, HAN is keen to see Namibia position itself on top of the list of “desirable post-Covid travel destinations”.

This, she adds, is convinced that Namibia has what it takes in terms of the infrastructure, controls and services. Equally, she feels Namibia also has the natural attractions, including clean air, sunshine in abundance and wide-open spaces, where travel – even under normal circumstances – saw people travel in small groups and isolated in the vast landscapes and attractions that the country offers.

 Paetzold said there is a need to work towards some target dates to ensure our sector prepares itself well for the “new norm” in global travel.
“We believe that only such a conducive working environment will ensure the survival of the tourism sector, which has until now received promises of help-recognised as the sector hardest hit by the corona pandemic but has yet seen no real and tangible stimulus support.  The rollout of the wage subsidy has not yet reached the companies who applied for it.  Retrenchments in our sector have hence been unavoidable, having our industry practically forbidden through the global travel ban,” she reasoned.
She stressed the Namibian tourism industry is hanging in there, albeit by a very thin thread, but grateful for every little step forward and out of the lockdown.

Since 5 May, with the commencement of stage 2 of the state of emergency post-lockdown measures, the hospitality industry in Namibia was allowed to re-open.

Thus, over the past 4 weeks, Namibia has experienced a very small and gradual resumption of the tourism industry, even though minuscule at best. She revealed the long weekend at the end of May saw a good number of Namibians making use of the many special offers from a variety of lodges, camps and other accommodation establishments across Namibia – with National Parks in particular almost full with Namibians enjoying the marvel of the wildlife in the Etosha National Park in particular. 
– anakale@nepc.com.na 

Albertina Nakale
2020-06-03 09:51:28 | 1 months ago

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