The Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) feels despite all good intentions and effort, the local tourism market will not be able to save the sector, which needs at least 40% occupancy to survive.
According to the latest statistics, room occupancy stood at its lowest of 5.6%, compared to 2019, where it constituted 45.49%.
The month of May saw the accommodation establishments gradually reopening under more relaxed restrictions of the Covid-19 state of emergency.
HAN CEO Gitta Paetzold said since the local tourism market will not be able to save the sector, the government should consider the careful and gradual reopening of borders.
HAN said tourism, especially the accommodation side of it, was delighted to have been included in the economic cluster allowed to resume business in stage two already in early May.
“We, thus, saw several establishments open up their houses for domestic visitors, and the numerous public holidays and the many special offers during May contributed to some positivity in tourism and encouragement – that we are moving forward. On 2 June, with the start of stage three, restaurants were able to re-open for the full wine and dine experience, another major step in the right direction, and we are most grateful for the trust and confidence that the government has bestowed on this sector,” she said.
The country this week migrated from stage three to stage four from 30 June until 17 September for an extended 10-week period for all 13 regions, except for the Erongo region.
Updating the country on the national migration from stage three to stage four and Erongo specific response a week ago, President Hage Geingob announced the government has added stage five, estimated to be realised as of 18 September. This stage is aimed to exclusively address the opening of points of entry and the resumption of air travel.
Currently, points of entry remain closed, except for the transportation of imported goods.
The government, in collaboration with the tourism and hospitality sector, will conduct a targeted international tourism revival initiative between 15 July to 15 August.
“This initiative will look to accommodate a limited number of tourists, who will be determined in consultation with the private sector from a carefully selected low-risk market that has the potential to contribute towards our tourism sector that employs over 100 000 Namibians,” Geingob said last week.
He said modalities for this initiative will be announced in due course and this trial will inform and strengthen public sector preparations for the imminent reopening of points of entry under stage five.
To do justice to the local sector and the responsibility of providing good quality and safe working environment, she added the tourism sector has since April been working on revised standard operating procedures that cater to the new norms and needs due to the risks of virus spread posed by the pandemic.
A set of tourism protocols was drafted by industry and launched by the Namibia Tourism Board in June to serve both as a toolkit for the industry to align to new working procedures, as well as being used as a marketing tool to show the world that Namibia is ready to offer a safe environment under the “new norm”. – firstname.lastname@example.org
2020-07-02 09:53:54 | 3 months ago