Worries over Namibia’s touristic image

Windhoek-The environment and tourism ministry has expressed concern over the increase in crimes against tourists, saying this could scare off tourists who may see Namibia as not a safe destination.

The ministry has realised that current measures � such as tourism police units � might not be sufficient and is now contemplating strengthening safety and security measures across the country to protect tourists.

Of late tourists visiting Namibia have been preyed on by criminals who rob them of their valuables and injure them in the process.

The ministry together with the Namibian police and other stakeholders is working to put in place all necessary interventions to curb crime against tourists, and road accidents, said Ministry of Environment and Tourism spokesperson Romeo Muyunda in a statement issued this week.

Muyunda also said that to complement police presence on the ground plans are being drawn up to increase the coverage of tourist hotspots in and around towns in all regions.

Other new initiatives under consideration include the improvement of security at airports, stricter measures concerning taxis and other public transporters, providing for a reward system for information about crime against tourists, creating a hotline for reporting incidents, improving signposting at tourist hotspots and further expansion of patrolling and surveillance.

The City of Windhoek has also introduced closed circuit cameras in and around the city and installation of such equipment is ongoing. Highway patrols too have increased and are being conducted around the clock.

Muyunda however noted that although recent reports in the media may indicate an increase in crime against tourists, what is not known from these reports is whether this reflects an unusual incidence of such crimes.

Comprehensive statistics are currently not available to do a proper comparison, he said, adding that people need to be aware that tourism has grown phenomenally in Namibia over the past ten years and that until such statistics are available, care must be taken not to create undue alarm.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia