Namibia: Tourism Hopes for Turnaround After UK Delisting

Namibia and South Africa are among nations that will, effective today, be removed from the United Kingdom’s red list, a classification of high-risk countries which was implemented in an attempt to contain the Covid-19.

With the listing in place, Namibians were banned from travelling to the UK, while returning citizens had to quarantine for 10 days in an approved accommodation facility at their own cost. Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) managing director Matthias Ngwangwama said the removal of Namibia from the UK red list is good news because there is a possibility of the country getting more international tourists.

“The UK is a source of tourists to Namibia. We get a significant number of tourists from Germany and France, Britain and now that we have been removed from that list, it is widening the scope for receiving more tourists,” he said. “Let us bear in mind this is not entirely solving the problems in the industry but it is allowing companies in the tourism industry to have a lifeline in terms of a bigger source of revenue.”

Ngwangwama added the classification of Namibia as a high-risk country severely impacted the activities in the industry and if the removal had come earlier in September and October which are the high-peak season, the revenue the tourism industry is making would be higher because of the influx of tourists.

He said the rate of infection in the country is a determining factor of whether the country stands a chance of being put on the red list again or not. “The rate of infection and how much the country has been affected by the pandemic determines that list. What is expected of us is to follow the guidelines from the government, practice health and safety measures such as social distancing,” he advised.

“We must not relax because the moment we do that and the infection rate increases, surely we will be put on that list again.” He said one of the ways to ensure the infection rate does not increase again is to get vaccinated and through that, one is protected. “The tourism industry is still in a problem, we cannot expect something as major as Covid-19 which hit the industry to go away in a space of one or two years, it will still take a lot of time to recover. All we have to do is adhere to what we are told, especially the issue of vaccine hesitancy. As a country, we should face and address vaccine hesitancy. We need to establish what is leading people to have hesitancy in taking the vaccine. The media must try to help understand what is causing the hesitancy- don’t force people to get vaccinated but try and understand the cause.” – psiririka@nepc.com.na

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