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‘New visa regime ill-timed’

Written by on May 27, 2024

Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) chief executive Nangula Uaandja says the decision by the government to impose a visa regime on about 31 countries from the traditional tourist markets of Europe is ill-timed.

She told The Namibian yesterday that a new visa regime mooted by the government on countries that are not reciprocating Namibia’s visa on arrival policy will dent the economy.

“Given the unemployment challenges we are facing as well as the need to fast track the recovery of our tourism sector from the impact of Covid-19, the timing of this decision is definitely less than ideal,” Uaandja said.

“I believe the decision has been made based on equally valid points by those we have entrusted to make it. Therefore, I believe as Namibians, we must accept this decision and focus on what needs to be done to minimize its impact on our employment and economy,” she said.

She said the tourism sector is one of Namibia’s priority sectors that employs a good number of Namibians and contributes significantly to the GDP.

Uaandja said although the tourism sector understands the international laws, the sector pleads for the most effective and efficient as well as friendly service.

“Everything we are talking about is based on assumptions, none of us have made the study and calculations to determine the real impact and consider ways how we can ensure Namibia comes out the winner. Let us focus on that,” she said.

Last week, cabinet made a decision to allow the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security to impose a visa regime on all countries that are not allowing Namibians into their country without applying for visa’s.

These decision will affect visitors from 37 countries including Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong (SAR), Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau (SAR), Mauritius, Moldova and the Netherlands.

Other countries to be affected include New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Seychelles, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uzbekistan.

Countries with reciprocal visa arrangements, such as Angola, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, will not be affected by the upcoming changes.

Uaandja said that although there are two sides to this decision, there is a case to be made for both the economic and political argument.

“While I personally subscribe to the economic side of the coin, I understand where cabinet is coming from and have had personal experiences that make that case even more appealing.

“Therefore, I believe our global partner countries and visitors from those countries should really use this decision to reflect on how they view, group, stereotype and treat Africans. Maybe it is time for a new conversation and a different way of engagement,” she said.

Uaandja said those entrusted with marketing Namibia should focus on promoting Namibia for what the country is.

“If we make a good point of making a compelling case for why Namibia, I am sure tourists and investors alike will continue to flock to Namibia,” she said.

The post ‘New visa regime ill-timed’ appeared first on The Namibian.

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