Tourism (124)

FlyNamibia has launched a new route connecting Eros Airport in Windhoek to Lüderitz, through a new partnership with TotalEnergies EP Namibia.

Namibia's hospitality sector's hotel occupancies closed May 2023 at 50.8%, as the sector makes steady progress in recovery, latest statistics show.

Tourism arrivals in the country remain low after only 15% of tourists have visited the country post Covid-19 when compared to 1.5 million in 2019, Tourism minister, Pohamba Shifeta has revealed.

The Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, Albert Kawana, says the free visa agreement between China and Namibia is anticipated to boost the tourism sector and business. 

China and Namibia will soon operationalise the agreement of visa-free travel between the two countries.

Kawana told Parliament that the agreement is only limited to travellers staying for 30 days or in transit, while persons intending to stay longer than that for work, studies or in other purposes, will have to apply for visas prior.

"It is my considered opinion that should the agreement be agreed upon in whatever form, our nationals will be afforded an opportunity to directly source goods from China for their own business or for their own use. Currently, West Africa is just doing that. What will prevent our citizens from doing the same? I am not aware of any staff member of our Ministry who is not happy," Kawana said.

"It is common cause that some of our nationals are being mistreated when they travel to certain countries. They are viewed like criminals regardless of the type of passports they hold. The treatment is the same whether they are on transit or not. It is for this reason that the principle of reciprocity is very important."

Kawana said this in Parliament while addressing concerns raised about the agreement by the public and lawmakers.

Popular Democratic Movement Parliamentarian Hidipo Hamata wanted to know whether China would accord the same privilege of visa-free to Namibians as well. 

On the other hand, there are concerns that the agreement will lead to the proliferation of Chinese nationals in Namibia.

"In October 2019, final clearance was done by the Office of the Attorney-General subject to further consultation with relevant stakeholders and finally the agreement to be submitted to Cabinet for final decision. This was done in an attempt to attract more tourists to Namibia, negotiations started nearly five years ago to target countries whose nationals are regarded as high value tourists. This includes the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China," Kawana said.

In addition, he said negotiations with Russia were concluded in 2021 and the agreement was signed on 14 April 2021.

According to the Minister, terms cover all types of passport holders of diplomatic, official and ordinary passports for a period of 90 days.

"Those who want to know the economic impact of Russia, tourists are referred to Egypt where billions of United State Dollars are generated each year," he said.

He therefore explained that the draft agreement stipulates that, citizens of the People's Republic of China holding valid diplomatic, service, public affairs or ordinary passports of the People's Republic of China, and Namibians having same, shall be exempted from visa requirements for entry into, exit from or transit through the territory of the other contracting party, for a period of stay not exceeding thirty (30) days from the date of their entry. 

Kawana also said, citizens of either contracting party shall abide by the laws and regulations in force in the other during their stay in its territory. In addition, he said the agreement does not restrict the right of either contracting party to prohibit unacceptable citizens from entering its territory or terminate their stay in its territory without citing reasons therefore.

"It is clear from the main provisions of the draft agreement that issues such as work, contracts, and settlement have nothing to do with the agreement since they are expressly excluded," he stressed.

The Namibia Airports Company is set to host AviaDev Africa this month in Windhoek.

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism has awarded the tender for the management and development of Dune 7 to Sandwich Dune Tours and Safari.

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism says it will soon introduce fines for speeding and non-adherence to rules in National Parks.

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) has dehorned approximately 2,500 rhinos nationally and spent over N$60 million in a decade in the exercise aimed at curbing poaching.

Namibia's hospitality sector is showing signs of recovery, with increased occupancy rates and growing tourist inflows in April 2023, latest data reveals.

Gondwana Holdings Limited (Gondwana) received bids valued at N$475 million from the issuance and listing of new Senior Unsecured Floating Rate Notes (Notes) under its Medium Term Note Programme (MTNP) approved by the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX).

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