passport on top of a planner

Namibia will officially enforce its new visa requirements from April 1, 2025, targeting 31 previously visa-exempt countries. This decision, affecting major tourism source markets like Austria, Germany, and the US, aims to regulate entry from non-reciprocating nations.

Travellers from these countries will now need to apply for a visa on arrival, with increased fees for non-African Union (AU) Member States. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security (MHAISS) announced these changes on social media, emphasizing the need for reciprocation in visa policies.

Industry leaders have expressed concerns about the potential negative impacts on Namibia’s tourism sector. The SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance highlighted that the policy contradicts Namibia Airports Company’s “Air Connect Namibia” strategy, which aims to increase international flights and connectivity.

Natalia Rosa, Project Lead for the Alliance, warned that a restrictive visa regime could hamper leisure and business travel, conferences, and trade, limiting overall economic growth and development. Rosa suggested alternative solutions such as e-visas or targeted visa waivers to balance security and accessibility.

Gitta Paetzold, CEO of the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN), echoed these concerns. She pointed out that Namibia’s private sector and government have worked together to make the country more accessible to tourists and investors. The introduction of this new visa requirement, she argued, undermines these efforts to present Namibia as an open and welcoming destination.

List of Affected Countries

Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uzbekistan.

Implications for the Tourism Industry

The new visa policy has sparked significant debate within Namibia’s tourism industry. Critics argue that it could deter tourists from key markets, affecting the entire tourism value chain. Namibia’s decision to enforce a N$1,600 (€82) visa fee for non-AU countries adds to these concerns. Industry stakeholders are advocating for more efficient visa processing systems and targeted waivers to mitigate potential negative impacts on the tourism sector and the broader economy.

The Namibian government maintains that the policy is necessary for national security and reciprocation. However, with the new requirements set to take effect in less than a year, the tourism industry is bracing for the potential challenges and exploring ways to adapt to the changing landscape.

Editor Africa Beat

Africa Beat is the source of all your news and updates in the travel industry out of Africa. You will find also find reviews and features focused on Africa.

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