Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Marine Mammal Tourism of Walvis Bay, Namibia: Through the Lens of Sustainable Tourism


by: Panashe Valentina Mataranyika , Liberty N. Espectato


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on various industries around the world, especially tourism. The Marine Mammal Tourism (MMT) industry is one of the sectors that has been affected by travel restrictions and health and safety protocols, and the consequences of these on the industry are unknown. This study examines the effect the pandemic has had on the marine mammal tourism industry in Walvis Bay, Namibia. The results of the key informant interviews (KII) and the focus group discussions (FGD) show that COVID-19 affects the industry in the following thematic areas: 1) tour operation; 2) income; 3) employment; 4) community involvement; 5) protocols and code of conduct; and 6) ecology. These thematic areas are discussed in the context of the goals of sustainable tourism. This paper also presents some policy recommendations for the sustainable development of the MMT industry of Walvis Bay.

Keywords: COVID-19, marine mammal tourism, sustainable tourism, Walvis Bay, Namibia