HAN and NCCI S/mund condemns rise in crimes targeting tourists

The Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) and the Swakopmund branch of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) are appealing to the coastal business community and general public to join forces with both institutions to address the issue of the rising crime committed against tourists.

“This cannot go on and something needs to be done,” said Anett Kötting from HAN yesterday at a press conference in Swakopmund. Paul Njambula, Chairperson of the NCCI Swakopmund branch, added that “we do not tolerate the increase in crime committed against tourists.” “It is not acceptable by Namibians. Enough is enough,” he said.
The press conference was held in the wake of a number of incidences of crimes committed against tourists over the past few days in the coastal tourism town. Some overseas tourists were robbed at knife point, others had their valuables stolen during their sleep (namib times reported).
“If we don’t change our attitude, we will lose jobs in the tourism sector. We simply cannot afford to have crime increase,” Njambula said. While condemning the rising crime rate he noted that the tourism sector is currently doing well due to the favourable exchange rate for overseas visitors.
“Every tourist coming to Namibia creates an average of three jobs. If a single tourist is attacked, we lose these valuable jobs. We need to change our attitude,” Njambula added.
Kötting, who also serves on the re-established Police Public Relations Committee (PPRC), said that various points have been put together to address the crime rate and find a solution. The PPRC has sent out a list containing safety tips in the Swakopmund area, which some hotel establishments have put up in their rooms. “We need to create awareness and sensitize reception staff,” she said.
While both institutions are investigating various avenues to address the situation, Njambula noted that the other stakeholders, like the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and government, need to step up and be more visible. “We need to see the potential in the tourism sector. We need to address and solve the issue before it get out of hand,” he said.
As most attacks took place in the CBD of Swakopmund, the neighbourhood watch has since increased their patrols in the area. In the meantime HAN and the NCCI are looking into options to address other challenges, specifically so-called makalani sellers, who are notoriously known for harassing visitors. “It is a challenge, but I believe there also is a lack of co-ordination of different stakeholders. We need to get all involved and tackle the issue head-on,” Njambula said.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login