Spate of violent attacks on international tourists shaking local sector
The Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism condemned the recent violent attacks on international tourists in the country.
“It is a grave concern to all of us in the tourism sector and indeed the entire country,” MEFT Minister Pohamba Shifeta said in a statement this week.
Shifeta said these attacks, robberies, and assaults in which AK-47s, pistols, pangas and knives are used, have occurred from the far Eastern Zambezi to the Deep South Orange River, with the biggest number of incidents in Windhoek and Okahandja.
“The government and the tourism sector will not tolerate any crime where vulnerable members of society and innocent tourists become victims through technology that can identify potential victims for criminals and opportunists,” he said in a statement.
According to Shifeta, authorities and key stakeholders such as the hospitality industry, car rentals, neighbourhood watches, and the City Police are working in unison to erect a ring of steel to protect Namibia’s reputation as one of the safest destinations in the world.
Furthermore, the ministry will discuss the possibility of criminal gangs changing their targets towards tourists with NAMPOL and design a robust surveillance and intelligent mechanism to bring these criminals to the book after recent police successes against organised gangs.
Meanwhile, Shifeta said the ministry will be in contact with the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation to contact our international missions to ensure that the government is designing a robust surveillance and intelligent protection mechanism for the safety of our international visitors to stress the reputation of Namibia’s legendary hospitality.
The ministry urges all the different forces, social media platforms, and various types of victims – from poaching to robbery — all need urgent coordination and the best will be to attempt to build crime intelligence platforms with all stakeholders to coordinate to protect tourism as an important national resource and a symbol of pride for many generations to come.
“The safety of our country and of our international visitors has always been our unique proposition and has given Namibia as a tourist destination a competitive advantage over some other “unsafe” destinations, and thus need to be protected and guarded at all cost by every Namibian citizen to safeguard the good reputation of the country,” he added.
In Namibia, tourism’s multiplier effect impacts twelve other sectors, thus its direct and indirect contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of the country is significant, contributing to the creation of new businesses and employment opportunities that will lead to social and economic empowerment of many people including rural communities.