Local tourism feels effects of Ethiopian war

• BY TRACY TAFIRENYIKA

THE Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) chief executive officer Digu //Naobeb has stated that the war in Ethiopia is affecting the local tourism industry in a major way.

“The Ethiopian Tigray war is already affecting our tourism industry; many people have been restricted to travel due to this war. The reason being that many people like to travel with Ethiopian Airlines which goes straight to Windhoek rather than going to South Africa first before they come to Namibia and this has affected them.

“There are about 20 operators that were supposed to come to Namibia using the Ethiopian Airlines, they are still arriving but on Monday … last week when we communicated they were at risk, but some of them have arrived. These operators were supposed to come from different parts of the world. Some were supposed to come from Europe.”

//Naobeb went on to state that things might however soon return to normal.

“We are advised that the war has calmed down now and everything is slightly going back to normal. The flights were restricted but now they are no longer restricted, because it is now safe. Our main worry was the air space because most of those people were shooting in the air that is why the flights were stopped,” he stated.

The civil war has shifted dramatically since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed began a military campaign in the Tigray region a year ago, and with Tigrayan fighters advancing toward the capital, Ethiopia is at risk of collapse.

Despite international demands to end the conflict, Ethiopian and allied military forces remain in control of much of Tigray, and a humanitarian crisis across the country is worsening.

Children are dying of malnutrition, soldiers are looting food aid and relief workers have been prevented from reaching the hardest-hit areas, according to the United Nations and other aid groups. In western Tigray, tens of thousands of people have been driven from their homes by Amhara militias allied with the government as part of what the United States has called an ethnic cleansing campaign.