Press Statement by
Honourable Pohamba Shifeta
Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, MP
AT THE OCCASION OF THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF IMPLEMENTATION PROTOCOLS FOR THE INTERNATIONAL TOURISM REVIVAL INITIATIVE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT, FORESTRY AND TOURISM BOARDROOM, WINDHOEK
Senior staff members of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Members of the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to host this press conference to announce the new implementation protocols guiding the international tourism revival initiative that was announced by His Excellency President Dr. Hage G. Geingob in June 2020.
These protocols have been subjected to a comprehensive consultative process and have now been signed off by the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism; Minister of Health and Social Services and the Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security.
The protocols will come into effect from 1st September 2020, which will signal the re-opening of Hosea Kutako International Airport to international tourists.
It is imperative to note that this initiative targets leisure travelers and will be reviewed bi-weekly and amended if necessary as implementation proceeds. All visitors will be required to adhere to the prevailing safety and health regulations in terms of the Covid-19 State of Emergency.
The implementation protocols contains detailed information and guidance to both visitors and accommodation establishments and the tourism industry at large. The protocols provide information on:
- Entry requirements
- Requirements for Local Tourism Industry Service Providers
- Requirements for Airlines
- Testing / Screening on Arrival
- Transfer from Airport to Tourist Accommodation
- Seclusion Requirements
- Tracing and Case Management
- Visa Requirements
We are all aware that the tourism sector has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic due to the closure of borders and the complete absence of visitors from abroad over the past months.
This has had a terrible impact on direct and indirect beneficiaries of the tourism sector such as hotels, communal conservancies, travel agents, airlines, vehicle rental companies, tour operators, hunting operators as well as restaurants and entertainment facilities targeting tourists.
Although diverse efforts have been made to stimulate domestic tourism during the Covid-19 State of Emergency period, the survival and regrowth of the tourism sector depends mainly on our ability to attract international tourists.
The implementation protocols being announced here today aim to get the critical tourism and hospitality sector back up and running by putting in place the necessary measures and good practices to regulate sector in the context of Covid-19.
This is a fine balancing act and these implementation protocols are designed to help us ensure that international tourists are still able to visit Namibia without compromising the public health of neither Namibians nor their own health.
The full implementation protocols will be shared with you but allow me to highlight a few of the pertinent requirements:
- In terms of entry requirements, entry to the country will only be allowed via Hosea Kutako International Airport.
- All travelers must present a negative PCR test result, not older than 72 hours before boarding the plane and to be allowed to enter Namibia.
- All travelers will be required to stay for 7 days at their first tourist facility of booking, which must be duly registered with the Namibia Tourism Board and certified by the Ministry of Health and Social Services. The tourists must proceed directly to their first accommodation from the airport and no overnight or stopovers are permitted.
- All tourism establishments must observe the general health and safety protocols as stipulated by the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
- Detailed Covid-19 protocols for all operations in the tourism sector have been put in place by the Namibia Tourism Board. All tourism and hospitality establishments, facilities and enterprises must prior to receiving guests obtain a health certification license/permit in compliance with the provision of the protocols for the international tourism revival initiative. Further information and application forms are available on the NTB website at www.namibiatourism.com.na.
- In closing, I would like to thank the tourism industry and other stakeholders that have contributed to the development of these protocols, especially theaffected line Ministries. This marks an important first step to get the sector back on track and I am confident that we will be able to ensure the re-growth and resilience of this important sector without jeopardizing public health.
I thank you for your humble attention.