Namibia Looks to Implement Visas for 31 Countries

Namibia could soon implement a visa program for countries that have not reciprocated “the favorable treatment,” which would include the United States, along with 30 other countries. Namibia’s Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security says this move was deemed necessary “to ensure parity and fairness in diplomatic interactions.” It adds, however, that the measure “is not intended to hinder legitimate travel.”

No official start date has been announced yet. The nationals from the 31 countries will need to fill out an online visa application prior to travel or be issued a visa upon arrival in Namibia “at an applicable fee.”

Following the announcement, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Business Council Tourism Alliance expressed “deep concern” regarding the restrictive visa regime, adding it “could severely hamper the country's tourism industry and economic growth.”

This policy shift appears to contradict Namibia Airports Company’s recently launched air access strategy, “Air Connect Namibia,” aimed at increasing international flights and connectivity said the SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance. The implementation of stricter visa requirements could have a detrimental impact on various sectors of Namibia's economy, including tourism, hospitality, transportation and retail—all of which rely heavily on international visitors.

The alliance continued: “Evidence from across Africa, including success stories from Rwanda and Zambia, demonstrates that visa liberalization significantly boosts tourism, foreign investment and overall economic growth. A more open visa policy attracts a diverse range of visitors, including business travelers, investors and tourists, who contribute to the economy through spending, job creation and tax revenue.”

Several African countries, including those within the SADC, are moving towards more liberal visa policies. Namibia risks falling behind its regional peers and losing its competitive edge as a tourist destination if it adopts a more restrictive approach.

Instead of tightening visa restrictions, the SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance says Namibia should explore alternative solutions, such as implementing more efficient visa processing systems (e.g., e-visas), targeted visa waivers for specific groups or enhanced security measures at borders.

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