SADC: New Visa Regime a Step Backwards for Namibia Tourism

SADC: New Visa Regime a Step Backwards for Namibia Tourism
SADC: New Visa Regime a Step Backwards for Namibia Tourism
Written by Harry Johnson

Visa liberalization in Africa has been proven to have a positive impact on various aspects such as tourism, foreign investment, and overall economic growth.

The proposed restrictive visa regime in Namibia has raised serious concerns among the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Business Council Tourism Alliance. This move has the potential to significantly hinder the growth of the country’s tourism industry and overall economic development. It is particularly worrisome considering the recent launch of Namibia Airports Company’s “Air Connect Namibia” strategy, which aims to enhance international flights and connectivity. The enforcement of stricter visa requirements could negatively affect multiple sectors of Namibia‘s economy, such as tourism, hospitality, transportation, and retail, all of which heavily depend on international visitors.

Visa liberalization in Africa has been proven to have a positive impact on various aspects such as tourism, foreign investment, and overall economic growth. Rwanda and Zambia have emerged as success stories, showcasing the benefits of a more open visa policy. By attracting a diverse range of visitors including business travelers, investors, and tourists, the economy is stimulated through increased spending, job creation, and tax revenue. The Africa Visa Openness Index 2023 emphasizes the significance of visa openness in driving Africa’s tourism industry and acting as a catalyst for economic development.

Natalia Rosa, the Project Lead for the SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance, emphasizes that the entire tourism value chain can suffer from the adverse effects of a restrictive visa regime. This not only obstructs leisure travel but also hampers business travel, conferences, events, education, and trade. Consequently, it significantly curtails overall economic growth and development.

Numerous African nations, such as those belonging to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), are progressing towards more lenient visa regulations. If Namibia chooses to implement stricter measures, it runs the risk of lagging behind its neighboring countries and diminishing its appeal as a tourist hotspot.

Rosa emphasizes the importance of the Namibian government reevaluating these limiting measures and initiating discussions with relevant parties to discover resolutions that effectively address security concerns while also promoting economic growth and regional competitiveness. Rosa further highlights the significance of aligning visa policies with the air access strategy to fully capitalize on the advantages of expanded flight options and attract a greater number of visitors. Namibia could draw inspiration from successful instances such as Rwanda, where visa liberalization and infrastructure investments have led to substantial growth in the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) tourism sector.

Namibia’s decision to reverse its visa regime and introduce a remote working visa, acknowledging the post-COVID demand, is perplexing, especially considering the upcoming pilot of the Univisa by SADC.

Rather than imposing stricter visa restrictions, Namibia has the opportunity to consider alternative approaches. This could involve implementing more streamlined visa processing systems, such as e-visas, granting targeted visa waivers for specific groups, or enhancing security measures at borders.

Rosa concludes that it is crucial to thoroughly analyze and tackle any obstacles that hinder international visitors from entering, in order to promote longer stays, boost spending in the economy, and expedite the recovery of the tourism sector.

The SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance remains dedicated to backing Namibia’s tourism industry and advocating for policies that foster sustainable growth and development.


WTNJOIN | eTurboNews | eTN

(eTN): SADC: New Visa Regime a Step Backwards for Namibia Tourism | re-post license post content


 

About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for mroe than 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
Share to...