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Tourism industry hails PCR tests scrapping

2022-08-30  Albertina Nakale

Tourism industry hails PCR tests scrapping

Like many other nations globally, Namibia has been steadily opening up over the past few months, dropping the Covid-19 restrictions gazetted under the Environmental Health Act, 2015.

Announcing the classification of entry requirements into Namibia, health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe said the current epidemiological situation as of last Thursday no longer supports the retention of the entry requirements into Namibia of a vaccination certificate and a negative PCR test result.

“Consequently, the entry requirements into Namibia by foreign travellers of vaccination certificate and a negative PCR test result have been scrapped,” Nangombe announced. 

Initially, unvaccinated tourists or visitors alike needed to take a test before visiting the country, but this rule has now been scrapped. 

All travellers entering Namibia were required to produce negative Covid-19 PCR test results on arrival. 

This test certificate was to be valid for seven days from the date of issue. 

Namibia Wildlife Resort (NWR) spokesperson Nelson Ashipala welcomed the new development, saying it is a positive development. 

“Tourism opening up means we can finally announce to both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated that they are welcome. Covid came with mixed feelings from tourists and it opening up just highlights the extent that we went to in curbing the pandemic,” he reacted. 

Hospitality Association of Namibia’s (HAN) executive Gitta Paetzold said the recent announcement is great news and very much in line with what is happening in many parts of the world. 

“We are currently some two-thirds back to normality and keen to increase performance moving forward. Hopefully, rising crime and financial constraints will not impact tourism negatively in the future,” she said. 

In March, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa also relaxed almost all remaining coronavirus restrictions, as the number of new infections and related hospitalisations and deaths in the country continued to drop. 

The local tourism industry saw the easing of Covid-19 restrictions by South Africa as a huge step forward for travel into Southern Africa as a whole and Namibia.

South Africa, as a transit hub, has been important for Namibia and the region, given the limited air access capacity Namibia has had with direct flights from international markets.

Covid-19 has decimated the tourism industry. 

The 2019 tourist statistical report recorded 1.6 million foreign travellers to Namibia. 

After the detection of local coronavirus cases in March 2020, Namibia (and most other countries) closed its borders, to curb the spread of the virus, and only welcomed 169 565 tourists in 2020 while 233 692 arrived in 2021, according to the ministry of environment and tourism in a January 2022 statement.

Earlier, Namibia also relaxed Covid-19 restrictions, which included removing the mandatory wearing of masks in public places. 

However, people who are in close settings, such as public transport and indoor public meetings are encouraged to wear masks. 


2022-08-30  Albertina Nakale

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