Tourists visiting Namibia have been allowed to proceed from their first place of accommodation in the country before completing a seven-day seclusion period there. The amendment was announced by the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta as one of its tourism revival initiative protocols. Previously, the protocols stipulated that tourists would have to stay at their first accommodation facility for a seven-day period of seclusion, during which they would be swabbed and tested before travelling to their next destination in an effort to combat the spread of covid-19 According to the amendments, tourists who intend to stay at their first pre-booked facility for less than five days will now be allowed to proceed to their next destination before the seven days are over, but must be available for a Covid-19 test on the fifth day with the collection of results due on the seventh day of their stay. Minister Shifeta said the amendments were necessary as they help the country in having an equal share of tourists coming in compared to other countries in the region who have since opened their borders to tourists with lesser restrictions.
“The tourism sector is highly competitive and Namibia is competing to attract tourists with countries from all over the world. The fact that other countries in the region have opened up their borders with fewer restrictions has put Namibia at a disadvantage.”
Besides the lifting of some strict restrictions, Tourists are still expecting more appealing arrangements.
“However, there are still bookings in the system, as tourists hope for more appealing protocols and arrangements to be put in place,” Shifeta. He noted that the amendment was made in the hope of striking a balance between saving both lives and livelihoods. Before the pandemic, the tourism industry directly supported 44 700 jobs, equivalent to 6,5% of total employment in the country. Inclusive of indirect jobs, it supported about 100 700 jobs, which represents 14,5% of total employment in the country.
Liberty Pazvakawamwba SADC News