The Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism (MEFT) vehemently condemns the recent surge in violent attacks targeting international tourists in Namibia. These distressing incidents, which include robberies and assaults involving various weapons, have been on the rise nationwide. This worrisome trend is a matter of profound concern to both the tourism sector and the entire nation, with a significant number of these incidents occurring in the Windhoek and Okahandja areas.
It is a collective duty of Namibians to reject any form of crime committed against tourists or any crime that victimizes vulnerable members of society and innocent tourists. The safety of the country and international visitors has always been the distinctive offering and has positioned Namibia as a preferred tourist destination.
The Ministry, in collaboration with the entire tourism and hospitality sector, is working tirelessly to fortify Namibia’s reputation as one of the world’s safest destinations. Furthermore, the ministry is actively engaging with law enforcement agencies to address crimes against tourists. They have observed criminal gangs shifting their focus towards tourists, and through our discussions with the Namibian Police, they aim to establish a robust surveillance and intelligence mechanism to bring these criminals to justice.
The Ministry extends its gratitude to the Gondwana Collection for instituting a commendable reward system for those who can identify criminals targeting lodges, setting an example worth emulating.
It is crucial to recognize that assaults on visitors and international tourists have severe and far-reaching consequences on the growth and recovery of our country’s tourism economy. This sector is only just beginning to regain its footing, two years after the devastating impact caused by the outbreak of Covid-19.
In Namibia, tourism has a multiplier effect as it significantly contributes to the Gross Domestic Product of the country. It fosters the creation of new businesses, generates employment opportunities, and contributes to income generation, especially for communities in rural areas, leading to social and economic empowerment for many.
We call upon all stakeholders to vigorously condemn these barbaric actions. Stakeholders should collaborate to root out this unwelcome threat. Protecting the vital tourism sector is a collective responsibility, and we must safeguard it as a symbol of our national pride and identity as a peaceful nation. Over the years, Namibia has built a reputation as the most peaceful country, upholding the values of safety and security. We urge our law enforcement agencies to develop initiatives specifically aimed at ensuring the protection of tourists.