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Namibian Police To Put Signs At Airport To Warn Tourists About Criminals

Dolly Menas

The Namibian has announced that it will put up signs at the Hosea Kutako airport to alert tourists coming into the country on what to do should they find themselves in trouble.

He said this as a video of a tourist being robbed in Windhoek went viral earlier this month.

Khomas police spokesperson warrant officer Silas Shipandeni says that his office is busy dealing with protocols that they must draw up to ensure the tourists’ safety.

“My office is busy dealing with certain protocols that we need to draw up to make sure that there is an image at the airport that is created to say, if you find yourself in this situation, this is what you should do as far as prevention of crime against the tourists is concerned,” he says.

He said the initiative will involve tour guides and other stakeholders the police feel can help ensure that tourists are safe.

He added that the police will inform tourists about the initiatives they are putting together and let them know that they are there to attend to tourists whenever they need help.

He added that they are looking at many other possibilities to make sure that people are safe.

“We never sleep comfortable knowing that crimes are happening, and we try by all means to come up with all the necessary initiatives to help prevent crimes in our society,” said Shipandeni.

Shipandeni stressed that tourists are more of a target because they are relaxed.

“Most of them say Namibia is a safer country which they want to remain on. When they come to Namibia, they feel relaxed to say they can never be victims of crime, robbed or attacked.”

Crime has been on the rise in the country lately, with the capital recording 359 robbery cases in 49 days between July and August.

Tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta has welcomed the news, saying that the police putting up signs at the airport to help tourists know what to do when in danger is a good thing and will help reduce the tourist robberies.

“That is a very good gesture toward tourists. When they come to Namibia, they must be able to feel safe,” he told The Villager.

“All these are part of the measures that we put together with the Namibian police to ensure that the tourists are safe in Namibia,” he says.

Shifeta also said that the measure is not done because Namibia is a dangerous country but for tourists to feel safe and have something to lean on whenever they are in danger.

“It is just for tourists to be safe and have a number to call when they are in any situation, either being attacked or get into an area where their cars get stuck,” he said.

Meanwhile, Namibia Travel And Tourism Forum Nrupesh Soni says that they want to put the signs not only at the airport, but across the country as well.

“It is a good thing, but we would like it more on Etosha and across the country, so even the tourists driving through the other side of the country can be alert, not just at the airport,” he says.

“But it is critical considering the circumstances that are happening these days but also it is a good initiative,” said Soni.

Soni also says that Namibia is open compared to other countries and that tourists will not be afraid to travel to Namibia if the initiatives are implemented.

“It is more of a guideline. If the ministry of tourism is involved, they will make sure that it does not scare people away but just alert them to be careful and not leave their properties in the view of people,” he said.

He added that they would work with the ministry and ensure that there are more initiatives across to ensure that the message is more to help than scare the tourists.

Soni further says that tourists will be safe in Namibia because almost every time an incident of robbery occurs, the suspects are always found and dealt with by the police.

The Namibia Wildlife Resort (NWR), this past week, said the rise in crimes was a concern to Namibia’s image.

“With the rise in robbery and theft cases, however, our fear as a tourism company is the negative publicity that these incidences of robbery and pickpocketing are bringing to our beautiful country. Tourists love experience, and experience would mean engaging with the locals, going out for sundowners, jogging, and strolling through town and all of its wonderful attractions without fear of harassment. Reports of robberies and theft are negative and will only prevent many tourists from coming to our country, thus, in the final analysis hurting employment in the country and the economy.”

Dolly Menas

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