Namibian tourism almost collapsed following months of coronavirus lockdown, the Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations (Fenata) said in a statement released on Thursday. The current silence and inaction on the part of the government was further suffocating tourism.
The Fenata officials say that tourism needs urgently the government’s support. Without a clear pronouncement and commitment to a date for resumption of travel activity across Namibian national parks, would not allow the industry to regain hope and start planning. In other words, tourism in the African country is doomed to collapse.
Namibia’s cabinet is yet to pronounce itself on an earlier commitment to open international travel and allow tourists from low-risk countries into the country, AllAfrica reports.
Meantime, the Namibian stakeholders are ready to welcome international arrivals once the government pronounces itself on the final modalities of such visitors. However, tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta expressed lack of optimism on the issue this week. the official said it was not practical to welcome tourists to the country with the current escalation of COVID cases both in Namibia and globally.
Namibia reported a massive wave of cancellations of tours for August and September
While tourism ministry hesitates, the travel agencies are reporting on another massive cancellation of tours the upcoming high season. The companies partners in transport and aviation also have indicated an eagerness to resume connections to Namibia.
“The Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations, through the active and intense support and submission from its members and key stakeholders in tourism, all of whom have invested heavily into the tourism infrastructure in Namibia, has done all it could to impress upon the leadership the necessity of allowing a careful resumption of operations to ensure the survival of the sector,” Fenata’s statements reads.
In its efforts to revive the tourism sector, Fenata urged the Namibian government to demonstrate political will and understanding of the important economic impact tourism has on the country. In general, tourism needs reliable indications of a way forward, or risks total collapse.
Fenata said they were delighted to see government’s willingness to open up tourism for a trial period from mid-July, in the hope that careful deliberation and collaboration in risk mitigation would prove that Namibia was ready to provide a safe enough environment in which to operate.
According to Federation, Namibia has what it takes to be the “Destination of Choice” post-COVID, as the type of tourism the country offers is focused on wide-open spaces, freedom, isolation into the wild and all of this away from congested, over-populated environments.