International tourists are no longer required to spend seven days at one facility in Namibia as per the amended health and safety protocols.
This was announced by Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, who pointed out that the amended protocols now allowed tourists – intending to spend less than five days at a pre-booked facility – to proceed to the next destination, provided they are available on day five for swabbing, wherever they are.
Shifeta said the amendments aimed to remove restrictions that were seen as a barrier to attracting tourists to Namibia. According to him, since the borders reopened the tourism industry had not seen any bookings.
He said this had prompted a rethink in the approach, especially considering the competitive nature of the tourism sector.
Air Namibia slashes salaries
Air Namibia is said to be planning to halve the salaries of employees furloughed since March, and to freeze vacant posts as it battles a cash crisis due to the travel ban in Namibia, according to a Reuters report.
The airline has been operating with about 57% of its workforce for the past five months, with the remainder, which includes cabin crew members, pilots and general ground staff, on furlough. It is said to need around NAD8bn (US$479m) to stay afloat, but the government has only offered a tenth of that in bail-outs.
Air Namibia’s financial woes began well before the travel ban. The cash-strapped airline was grounded at midnight on July 8 after the Transportation Commission of Namibia suspended its scheduled air service licence, saying the airline was financially unable to provide a safe and reliable air service. But it continued to operate domestic flights on July 9, and remained in the air after the Namibian High Court set aside the suspension on July 9.