Tourism sector calls for Govt intervention over UK red list

Namibia’s tourism sector says it will be engaging with the Ministry of International Relations (MIRCO) to lobby the United Kingdom (UK) government over its stance to retain Namibia and South Africa on its ‘red list’.

Red-list countries are those the UK government says should not be visited "except in the most extreme of circumstances".

“We will be engaging with the Ministry of International relations, while engaging in talks with bodies at a multi-lateral level such as the Southern Africa Tourism Association to petition against the decision,” Hospitality Association of Namibia CEO, Gitta Paetzold said.

She, however, the sector had made sufficient safety preparations around COVID-19, ensuring the safety of tourists that come into the country.

“We feel strongly that we need to leave with what’s going and accept to move forward. Our members have put measures at all our venues to ensure the safety of tourists,” Paetzold said.

NTB Chief Executive Officer, Digu //Naobeb, however, said the classification of countries by the UK was within its rights.

“We need to understand the rationale of the UK government considering the high rates that we faced and the current low vaccination rates. The UK wants to protect its own people, that’s why we continue to advocate for people to be vaccinated for us as country to be delisted,” he said.

“This matter, can, however be delt with at government level, through MIRCO.”

There are currently 62 countries on the UK’s ‘red-list’, including Namibia and South Africa.

Under the UK’s travel rules, travelers who have been in a country or territory on the red list in the last 10 days will only be allowed to enter the UK if they are British or Irish nationals or have residence rights in the UK.

These travelers are subject to rigorous Covid testing and have to quarantine at a designated hotel at their own cost

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