MET concerned about damage to country's image

19 Sep 2017 13:50pm
OSHAKATI, 19 SEP (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has expressed concern over the damage done to Namibia’s image as a safe destination for tourists by isolated incidences of crime against tourists.
This month alone, more than two cases of robbery against tourists have been reported. The most recent occurred at Swakopmund on Friday, where the suspects were caught red-handed by police patrolling team while stealing from a vehicle used by tourists.
The MET, in a media statement issued on Monday reiterated that even though statistics are currently not available to do a proper comparison, tourism has grown phenomenally in Namibia over the past 10 years and that until such statistics are available, care must be taken not to create undue alarm.
“Crime against tourists occurs all over the world, even in developed countries and every incidence of such crime is nevertheless highly regrettable and are condemned in the strongest term in Namibia. However, what is not known from these reports is whether this reflects an unusual incidence of such crimes,” the document stated.
According to the ministry, the Namibian Government values its visitors coming from across the world and has therefore reassured tourists that their safety and security is of the utmost importance to the Government of Namibia.
The statement further revealed that MET with the Namibian Police and other stakeholders are working to put in place all necessary interventions to curb crime against tourist attacks and road accidents.
According to the ministry, even though police presence on the ground may be insufficient at present, plans have been put in place to increase the coverage of tourist hotspots in all regions.
One such measure is the introduction of closed circuit cameras in and around Windhoek, while highway patrols are increased and conducted around the clock.
“Additional new initiatives under consideration also include the improvement of security at airports; stricter measures concerning taxis and other public transporters; providing a reward system for information about crime against tourists and creating a hotline for reporting incidents,” added the document.
The MET has therefore appealed to all Namibians to rededicate themselves to protect tourists, the country's economy, image and the ranking of being among the top five safest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.