21 December 2017

Namibia: The Coast Quieter So Far

COMPARED to previous years, the holiday vibe at the coast, especially at Swakopmund, seems quieter, and experts in various sectors say it may be because of several reasons ranging from the slow economy to safety.

Owner of Swakopmund Spar in the town's CBD, Ryno du Preez, said there are fewer holidaymakers compared to previous years.

The Swakopmund Spar and shopping centre is one of the focal points for shopping and is primarily abuzz during holidays.

"The economy is not good. People do not have money, or they want to save their money. They would rather come later and stay shorter," he said.

Du Preez said many people from Namibia's neighbours, mainly South Africa, are allegedly struggling to come through the borders because of the new border control and have decided instead to turn back.

"It's a little quiet now, but we are hoping for a burst as from the end of this week," he said.

Anette Kötting of the Hotel Association of Namibia's coastal chapter also noted a quietness compared to previous years.

"It's much slower, even from visitors coming from South Africa. The town is not so packed yet," she said.

She also believes security is playing a significant role with more people not wanting to leave their homes elsewhere to come to the coast, fearing for the safety of their homes.

She said accommodation establishments are expecting two busy periods, namely the next two weekends - for Christmas and the New Year.

"It will be short, intense periods, but then, just after New Year, people will go home, and Swakopmund will soon be back to normal," she said.

Coordinator for the West Coast Safety Initiative Aubrey Oosthuizen, however, believes the traffic this year is still a lot and relatively the same as previous years.

"Considering the number of emergency packs we handed out specifically to incoming traffic and foreigners in just five days, I would say that the traffic flow is still good," he said.

According to him, Swakopmund has expanded much, and so the number of people may seem less, but in this case, they were just more dispersed.

"There have even been many well-loaded vehicles from South Africa," he said, agreeing with the others that a spurt in influx is expected from this weekend and the next.

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