WINDHOEK – Nationals from about 47 countries, including 27 African and 20 from across the world, will now be able to visit Namibia without prior application for visitor’s visas, the country’s Home Affairs and Immigration Ministry announced last week.
Namibian Minister of Home Affairs, Frans Kapofi, said the visa on arrival for the affected countries will include bona fide tourists (excluding tour guides who are required to obtain employment permit/work visa in advance), potential investors coming to explore business opportunities, visitors coming to attend meetings, seminars, workshops (excluding those coming to perform pay related jobs which still requires one to obtain an employment permit/work visas), friendships and family related visits and medical related visits.
“The Travel and Tourism Competiveness Index 2019 Report by the World Economic Forum, ranks Namibia 81 out of 140 countries. One of the pillars of the index used for the rating is the country’s international openness. This pillar sets out ‘that developing a competitive travel and tourism sector internationally requires a certain degree of openness and travel facilitation’. It further affirms that ‘restrictive policies such as cumbersome visa requirements diminish tourists’ willingness to visit a country,” Kapofi said.
Kapofi added that Namibia ranks 38 out of 55 African countries in terms of openness and accessibility.
“One of the fundamental purposes which gave rise to this project is government’s commitment to improve amongst others, Namibia’s Global Competitive Ratings. We should therefore be cognisant that this can only be achieved by eliminating ‘bottlenecks’ in our operations and processes. Furthermore, our ministry will continue to deploy smarter approaches to support tourism and economic growth while maintaining the integrity and security of our country,” he said.
Kapofi said Namibia exempted over 60 countries from visa requirements when their citizens are to visit for tourism purposes.
“47 countries have been selected for visas on arrival. All three categories of passports, being ordinary, diplomatic and official/service passports are accommodated for purposes of the visa issuance on arrival. I wish to make it clear that this arrangement excludes people coming to Namibia for employment purposes which obligate such people to apply and acquire employment permit in advance. Visas on arrival will benefit the following categories of visitors,” he said.
The current 27 African countries selected are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic (CAR), Chad, Comoros, Cote d’ Ivore and Djibouti.
The list also includes Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tunisia, Western Sahara and Uganda
Those that will benefit from outside Africa include Belarus, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Moldova, Nicaragua, Poland and Romania.
It also includes Slovakia, South Korea, Venezuela, Vietnam, Thailand and Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Ukraine.