Exempting Chinese from visas will increase tourism

Chamwe Kaira

The proposed visa exemptions for 30 days for Chinese nationals arriving in Namibia will have a positive impact on tourist arrivals from the Asian giant given that it is the second biggest economy in the world and a big player in travel and tourism globally.

“Namibia will do well to tap and establish a tourism market in China. This will enhance tourism growth for the country as well as economic growth and investment. The visa requirement has been one of the challenges that hampering Chinese arrivals, with that exemption, we are confident that the tourism arrivals will increase significantly,” Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Romeo Muyunda told Observer Money.

Chinese travel statistics show that by 2024, outbound Chinese tourism could reach 180 million (20% more than in 2019).

Muyunda said Chinese tourists are important for the Namibian Tourism Market, with the pre Covid-19 arrivals averaging over 18 000 arrivals.

“Of course more still needs to be done in maximising the potential of establishing an impactful tourism market from China. Another challenge that have halted this is the flight availability from China to Namibia. There have been no direct flights with only connecting flights which would take a minimum of days to arrive to Namibia from China. This complexity has affected the number of arrivals and it’s something that as a ministry we are concerned about. Lastly it’s the visa issues, which hopefully will be resolved with the proposed exemption.”

Regarding the promotion of Namibian tourism to markets outside the popular markets of Germany and South Africa, Muyunda said the plan to market Namibia to many markets as possible.

“But this is a systematic process depending on resource availability. Namibia Tourism Board is tasked by law to market Namibia’s tourism to the world. There has been conceited efforts in doing this through a multi stakeholder approach that includes the ministry, NTB and NIPDB. We have collectively and individually visited other countries around the world such as Serbia and Ghana respectively to promote Namibia’s tourism there. Other priority areas for the country are India, United States amongst others. We have also through the NTB have invited international journalists to cover success stories of the country to promote its tourism,” Muyunda said.

Tourist arrivals to Namibia reached 461 027 in 2022, compared to 232 756 tourists received in 2021, the top 10 tourist markets in 2022 included South Africa, Angola, Germany, Zambia, Botswana, France, United Kingdom, United States of America, Italy and Switzerland.

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