Namibia cancels annual tourism expo as focus shifts to Covid-19 vaccinations
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Windhoek - The organisers of Namibia's annual Tourism Expo, Namibia Media Holdings (NMH), for the first time in 23 years announced the cancellation of the 2021 Tourism Expo, an executive said Thursday.
The cancellation is in support of the country's Health Ministry's drive to have more Namibians vaccinated by September 2021, hence their decision to partner with the Health Ministry by setting up more vaccination centers across the country, rather than hosting the expo.
"We believe that if we can have half of the population vaccinated, this will open up more travel to and within Namibia, this will reduce the death rate which is at an alarming state currently and will reduce the overcrowded, health facilities in our current," said Maggy Mbako, PR Executive of NMH.
Meanwhile, Namibia Tourism Board CEO, Digu Naobeb, said the safety of the Namibian residents is of paramount importance, hence a need for a concerted effort and aggressive drive to campaign to dispel and demystify the ongoing misinformation.
"More crucial to restart tourism is for us to reduce the high-risk status of Namibia, therefore joint effort in this is highly commendable," he concluded.
IOL Travel reported that many organisers have put the brakes on live events due to the third wave, which could further impact revenue for the domestic travel market.
The organiser of Africa Travel Week, for example, cancelled its Connect in the City event scheduled for September. The Cape Town spectacle would have brought together the relevant stakeholders to experience the city’s offerings, including familiarisation tours and a dedicated conference.
Megan Oberholzer, Reed Exhibitions SA portfolio director for travel, tourism and creative industries, said it had been a difficult decision to cancel.
“There is nothing we had hoped for more than to host this live event. However, with the environment remaining fluid, the ongoing third Covid-19 wave, as well as the uncertainty as to when South Africa will be removed from ‘red lists’ and travel advisories, the decision had to be made,” said Oberholzer.