Namibia Welcomes Tourists in September

Namibia's borders will reopen to international travellers via Hosea Kutako International Airport only from 1 September 2020.

Environment, forestry and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta revealed this on Tuesday when he announced the new implementation protocols guiding the international tourism revival initiative.

"These protocols have been subjected to a comprehensive consultative process and have now been signed off by the minister of environment, forestry and tourism; minister of health and social services and the minister of home affairs, immigration, safety and security.

"The protocols will come into effect from 1 September 2020, which will signal the re-opening of Hosea Kutako International Airport to international tourists," Shifeta said.

Protocols to be followed during this implementation period include entry to the country only through HKIA and travellers must present a negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours before boarding the plane.

"All travellers will be required to stay for seven days at their first tourist facility of booking, which must be duly registered with the Namibia Tourism Board and certified by the Ministry of Health and Social Services. The tourists must proceed directly to their first accommodation from the airport and no overnight or stopovers are permitted."

Namibia announced its tourism revival initiative in June this year, as the country was preparing to reopen its borders to the international market.

However, as the number of Covid-19 cases began to surge, president Hage Geingob in early August reverted the country to stage 3 of the state of emergency lockdown.

This closed the country's borders once again.

"We are all aware that the tourism sector has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic due to the closure of borders and the complete absence of visitors from abroad over the past months.

"This has had a terrible impact on direct and indirect beneficiaries of the tourism sector such as hotels, communal conservancies, travel agents, airlines, vehicle rental companies, tour operators, hunting operators as well as restaurants and entertainment facilities targeting tourists," Shifeta said.

Shifeta said the initiative targets leisure travel. According to the recently launched tourist statistical report, leisure travel is the second most popular purpose of visit after visiting friends and relatives.

In 2019, 811 253 tourists travelled to visit friends or relatives, while 535 458 travelled for holiday.

Shifeta said the survival and regrowth of the tourism sector depends mainly on the country's ability to attract international tourists.

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