BOAT owners at Walvis Bay are looking forward to the start of the new week, following the lifting of travel restrictions between regions by president Hage Geingob.
They say the series of lockdowns, since last year, hit their industry very hard, as they had no customers to go on boat tours.
Companies operating from the Walvis Bay waterfront say the recent lockdown was especially hard, as their only hope was local tourism. However, their hopes were shattered, as the lockdown restrictions did not allow people to move between regions.
The owner of Walvis Bay Tours, Fred Frederick, has renewed hope, however, as the industry's business might improve with the lifting of restrictions.
"Since I started in 2011, these two years have been worse than my starting years. For the past one year and eight months, I could not meet my obligations. Even now, I use temporary workers because of salary challenges. June to August have been our peak season in the tourism sector, but as you can see, we had no business for a month due to the lockdown. We are now hoping that locals will look forward to coming to the coast, as they normally come and relax at the sea," he says.
Frederick says his company has special price packages for locals, who he says have been neglected but have been keeping the companies afloat during the difficult times.
The marketing manager of Lady Victoria Tours, Alcino Maximis, is also excited about the coming week, as business might pick up.
"It has been tough and we have taken a massive knock. During the lockdown, we just tried to keep things running and sustain the companies, so that we can take care of our staff. We are hoping that things will become normal again. We are excited that Namibians can travel again and support this industry. Unfortunately, people from other countries are not really travelling to Namibia, but we are depending on them to come for support. We hope that our phones will start ringing and that our boats will start to fill up," he says.
The tour operators say they are already preparing to give visitors excellent service this week, and appeal to Namibians to take advantage of their specials so that they can enjoy the ocean.
Meanwhile, some Erongo residents have been taking advantage of the cheap rates the companies are offering to celebrate friendships, family time, anniversaries, birthdays, or just to escape the depressing feeling the Covid-19 pandemic brought about.