Namibia eases coronavirus restrictions to attract tourists

NAMIBIA – 2019/12/01: Tourists at Deadvlei, a clay pan characterized by dark, dead camel thorn trees contrasted against the white pan floor, located in Sossusvlei area, Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Namibia has further eased restrictions for international tourists to try to prevent the collapse of a sector hit by the coronavirus pandemic after the country closed its borders in March.

The Tourism Ministry said on Tuesday tourists could go to their pre-booked destinations and take part in activities for up to five days, after which they will be tested for the virus.

If they stay at their pre-booked destination for less than five days they can proceed to another destination without a test.

In the rules introduced in July, tourists had to quarantine at their first destination for seven days, which resulted in a large number of cancellations.

The tourism sector in the southwest African country has not seen any new bookings since the beginning of the month, leading to 115.7 million Namibian dollars ($6.85 million) in cancellations, the ministry estimates.

“This has necessitated a rethink in our approach. The tourism sector is highly competitive and Namibia is competing to attract tourists with countries from all over the world,” Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta said.