• September 19th, 2020

Hope on the horizon for reeling tourism sector

The Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) says it is delighted by government’s decision to gradually reopen borders to help revive the tourism industry. 
This comes after President 
Hage Geingob on Friday announced the commencement of the targeted international tourism revival initiative, which is being rolled out as of today. 

Initially, government intended to conduct a targeted international tourism revival initiative from 15 July 2020 in collaboration with the industry. 
However, this could not be realised, as both parties had to consult further.  Following a lengthy consultation process, Geingob confirmed the initiative has now been approved to commence from today, subject to the agreed protocols. 

HAN CEO Giita Paetzold yesterday said government’s decision shows commitment and understanding of the plight this sector finds itself in. 
“The decision is all the more valuable, coming at a time when Namibia is facing a spike in Covid-19 cases across the country and government being challenged to strike a careful balance between saving lives and livelihoods,” Paetzold said. 
She said tourism stakeholders had put together a proposal to government, which included all possible risk mitigation measures in terms of the selection of tourism source markets, pre-testing and re-testing in the country. 

This, she said, demonstrates their responsibility towards safeguarding the Namibian people’s wellbeing. 
Equally, she noted, compromises had to be made from both health and tourism industry players. 
The sector was relieved government was no longer insisting on a 14-day quarantine for travellers, as this would have been a non-starter. International tourists arriving in Namibia will be required to present a 72-hour negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result. Tourists will not be subjected to a mandatory quarantine. They will, however, be required to remain at their first initial destination in the country for seven days. 

“The seven-day waiting period, at any registered and government approved location imposed on travellers is acceptable for the trial phase. It is encouraging to see property owners already advertising their services, offering a seven-day stay, filled with activities, relaxation and exquisite Namibian cuisine, while offering guests the freedom to enjoy Namibia’s blue sky, sunshine in abundance and our wide-open spaces. This first step does wonders for the spirit and morale among the Namibian tourism players and we hope that all apply their minds and responsibility to make it work,” she remarked. 

She added Namibia opening up to the world was the best and most positive message the country can send to the global travel trade.
The details of the modalities are to be finalised by a national task team, which is to be constituted by tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta, comprising sector representatives and key institutions. 
Geingob said a test will be conducted during this period and the tourist will be permitted to proceed with their holiday on day seven, provided the test result is negative. 

“The modalities have been carefully negotiated and agreed upon to achieve the dual objective of stimulating our 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,” he stated.
– anakale@nepc.com.na 

Peak time… The dry season between June and October is considered the best time to visit Namibia. 
Photos: Emmency Nuukala

Albertina Nakale
2020-08-03 08:57:11 | 1 months ago

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