Historical flights set to promote the re-opening of the toursim sector – minister
Since the announcement of the implementation protocols of the Tourism Revival Initiative (TRI) and opening of the Hosea Kutako International Airport, the industry has not seen any new bookings, according to the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism on Tuesday.
The Minister, Pohamba Shifeta said this during the announcement of the amendments to the implementation protocols for the country’s international tourism revival initiative.
“In fact, we have had net cancellations which have resulted in N$115.7 million being withdrawn from the country,” he said, adding that this had a direct negative cash flow impact on businesses, which resulted in further salary cuts and or retrenchments.
“This has necessitated a rethink in our approach,” he said.
According to Shifeta, the tourism sector is highly competitive and Namibia is competing to attract tourists with countries from all over the world.
“The fact that other countries in the region have opened up their borders with fewer restrictions has put Namibia at a disadvantage. However, there are still bookings in the system, as tourists hope for more appealing protocols and arrangements to be put in place,” he said.
On a positive note, Shifeta said all airlines with Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreements with Namibia were engaged amid the TRI and positive responses were received with the major airlines keen to restart their services to Namibia.
“Ethiopian Airlines has made a public notification that it will resume flights to Namibia on 11 September. Lufthansa Group has also announced to introduce flights to Namibia from 19 September,” he said.
Shifeta further said Air Namibia has also indicated its intention to resume international flights.
“These historical flights will be to promote the re-opening of Namibia as a tourism destination to the world. It is our intention as the Ministry responsible for tourism to receive and welcome our very first tourists to Namibia after a long period of lockdown,” he said.