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First European flight lands in Namibia after lifting of international travel ban

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A Lufthansa plane became the first direct commercial flight from Europe to land in Namibia, after the southern African country opened its borders to international travellers earlier this month.

The Lufthansa Airbus A330-300 from Frankfurt in Germany, carrying 113 passengers, became the first direct scheduled airline flight from Europe to land at the Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek on Sunday, 20 September 2020. This follows the international travel ban announced in March, in the aftermath of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

To signify the importance of the occasion, the plane was welcomed with a ceremonial water salute.

Namibia’s Tourism Minister, Pohamba Shifeta welcomed the return of international travellers, saying the “re-launch of the Lufthansa Group’s direct flights from Europe is very important for our country and supports our international tourism revival initiative.”

“The Namibian tourism industry, which, in my understanding, has prepared its services according to professional health and safety protocols and guidelines, offers travellers a safe and secure environment for their relaxed Namibian holiday,” Shifeta said.

Namibia closed its borders on 28 March 2020, as part of early efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Lufthansa has announced that it will operate three weekly direct flights between Windhoek and Frankfurt. The flights will be on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

“Reinstating a non-stop route between Frankfurt and Windhoek offers German, and other leisure visitors from around the globe, access to Namibia’s renowned wildlife experience, amongst other tourist attractions. [All] while providing an effective connection for business travellers looking to commute between Namibia’s capital city, Windhoek, and one of Europe’s major financial hubs, Frankfurt,” said André Schulz, General Manager for Southern Africa and East Africa at Lufthansa.

The Namibian Government has announced that foreign tourists will be subject to stringent measures to ensure that visitors are not infected with the virus. All tourists will be expected to present certificates showing that they tested negative for coronavirus prior to travelling to Namibia.

As part of the quarantine measures, all international tourists will be required to spend at least seven days at the hotel or lodge that they will be booked at. During that period, they will be tested to ensure that they do not have the virus, before they are allowed to visit other places in Namibia.

-APA

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