No tourist arrivals expected for three months - Shifeta

No tourist arrivals expected for three months - Shifeta

While Government plans to open up borders mid-July in an effort to revive tourism, the industry estimates that there will be zero tourist arrivals in Namibia for the next three months.
This was said by Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta on Wednesday at the handing over of N$250 million by the German government to the ministry to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Namibia’s conservation and tourism sector.
“The situation is likely to persist for the entire year. Borders can open up, but it all depends on the behaviour of COVID-19 and our source countries that have been hit hard by the virus if people are willing to travel,” he said.
Shifeta said the predictions for lost income and massive job losses in the sector are particularly painful in rural areas, where the majority of the population ekes out a subsistence living which has been seriously weakened, including six years of drought.
He noted that conservation income from tourism operations is approximately N$60 million per year, with an additional N$65 million paid in salaries to tourism staff living in conservancies.
Shifeta further noted that a total of 700 jobs of community game guards and rhino rangers as well as 300 conservancy support staff and 1 175 locally hired tourism operators are in jeopardy.
“The 30-year effort to build Namibia’s communal conservancy programme is under severe threat, hence the ministry regards conservation of biodiversity very high because our wildlife provides an important contribution to the country’s economy,” the minister said.
He further said in response to the adverse impacts of COVID-19 the ministry has established a conservation relief, recovery and resilient facility to address the threats of the pandemic.
Shifeta also explained that of the funds donated by the German government, N$96 million is earmarked for the mitigation of economic losses in the conservation and tourism sector, while N$77 million will benefit the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZA).
At the same event, chargé d'affaires at the German Embassy Ellen Gölz said the pandemic has brought home how interconnected and interdependent countries are in a globalised world and has shown the importance of international cooperation and coordination.
“We can only win the fight against the pandemic if we stand together. Germany intends to live up to its international responsibility and the government’s international efforts to overcome COVID-19 is taking place through multilateral, European and bilateral cooperation,” Gölz said.
-NAMPA