Ministry condemns tourist attacks

Stakeholders band together to protect Namibia’s reputation
Namibia's reputation as a safe travel destination gives it a competitive advantage, the ministry's spokesperson said.
Ellanie Smit
The tourism ministry has condemned a recent wave of violent attacks targeting tourists, calling it barbaric.

Spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said it is a grave concern for everyone in the tourism sector and the country at large. These attacks, robberies and assaults - in which firearms, pangas and knives are used - are on a rampage from the far north-eastern Zambezi to the deep south, he said.

Muyunda added that authorities and key stakeholders, such as the hospitality industry, car rental businesses, neighbourhood watch groups and the City Police, are working together to erect a “ring of steel” to protect Namibia’s reputation as one of the safest destinations in the world.

According to him, the ministry will design a robust surveillance and intelligence mechanism to bring these criminals to book. The ministry will also be in contact with its international relations counterpart to ensure the design of a protection mechanism for the safety of international visitors, he said.

Competitive advantage

Muggings and violent assaults on visitors and international tourists have a severe and detrimental impact on the growth of the tourism sector, which is just beginning to find its feet after the Covid-19 pandemic, Muyunda said.

“The safety of our country and of international visitors... has given Namibia... a competitive advantage over some other unsafe destinations, and thus needs to be protected and guarded at all costs.”

According to him, tourism positively impacts 12 other sectors in Namibia, and its direct and indirect contribution to the country’s gross domestic product is significant. It contributes to the creation of new businesses and employment opportunities that will lead to social and economic empowerment of many people, he added.

“We want to make a call on all stakeholders to condemn this barbaric action. Stakeholders should coordinate to build intelligence against criminal activities on tourists. We must collectively protect the very important sector of tourism as a symbol of pride and our identity as a peaceful nation”, Muyunda said.

This year, Namibia was ranked among the 10 safest countries in sub-Saharan Africa, based on the Global Peace Index.