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Namibia: Relief for Tourism, but Industry Not Out of the Woods

Namibia: Relief for Tourism, but Industry Not Out of the Woods

By Gerrit van Rooyen

NKC African Economics.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on the local travel and tourism industry, and it seems unlikely that a return to pre-corona virus activity will be achieved in the near term.

Tourism is a cornerstone of the economy, with the sector supporting nearly 110,000 jobs and contributing over N$25 billion, about 15% to to the GDP. Concerningly, the latest data shows that international travellers have been very slow to return to the desert economy in the wake of the ‘Great Lockdown’. There are, however, some anecdotal reports that suggest a modest recovery could be emerging from November, following the increase relaxation of containment measures from mid-October.

Initially, foreign tourist were only allowed to enter Namibian via the Hosea Kutako International Airport outside Windhoek from 1 September and only if they followed strict health procedures. These measures included: that traveller present a negative Covid-19 test not older than 72 hours on arrival, that they do another test on the fifth day after arrival, and that they self isolate at their first place of accommodation for the first seven days.

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