Andrew Kathindi

It has emerged that tourists coming to Namibia as part of government’s initiative to rescue the country’s tourism sector will still be subjected to a seven days quarantine period, despite government’s reluctance to phrase it as such, Windhoek Observer has learned.

This comes after President Hage Geingob had said that tourists coming to Namibia will be exempted to a mandatory quarantine period but will need to remain at their first destination in the country for seven days.

However, Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula told this reporter on Thursday that tourists in the first seven days’ period, will not be in contact with anyone and will be confined to their lodgings.

“We avoid the word quarantine because tourists are allergic to that word. But basically it is going to be the same thing for seven days without any contact with anybody,” the Minister said.

He further stated, “There will be no contact between locals and the tourists until after seven days at their own cost. We first approve the place where they’re going to be and then they will be subject to the same measures as everybody else.”

The revelations come amid concerns by the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) that tourists coming from overseas to tour Namibia could pose a health risk to Namibia lodge and hotel workers who will have to serve them at their various destinations. The union conceded however, that tourist arrivals are crucial to save the sector.

Namibia Tourism Board Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Digu //Naobeb had previously stated that consultations between the sector and government had not yet reached consensus on measures.

“[It is a challenge] for tourists to spend seven days in one place. Ideally the travelling plans of a tourists are [only] between 12-14 days. On top of this, the airlines still need to make a call on whether the Namibian route will be cost effective for them,” //Naobeb said.

Currently, a campaign to revive and re-open boarders for tourists has already begun with some promotional videos released on several platforms including the national broadcaster, NBC.

Germany, which was identified as a key market for Namibia currently stands at 214,962 while Europe which will also be sourced has 3,000,274 cases as of Thursday, 6 August. Recent reports from Germany state that there is a concerning rise in new cases in that country.

Efforts to contact the Federation of Namibia Tourism Associations Chairperson (FENATA), Bernd Schneider were unsuccessful by the time of posting this edition.