Botswana’s Travel & Tourism industry is expected to generate US$1,620 million of economic activity according to the latest Tourism Satellite Accounting (TSA) report produced by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and commissioned by the Government of Botswana and the Botswana Tourism Board.
Over the next ten years Botswana’s Travel & Tourism industry is expected to achieve an annualized real growth of 5 per cent, exceeding the world average at 4.3 per cent and the Sub- Saharan African average at 4.5 per cent. According to the forecasts detailed in the report, Travel & Tourism already contributes over 10 per cent of total employment and some 16 per cent of non-mining GDP.
At the official launch delivered to the Botswana Cabinet, WTTC President Jean-Claude Baumgarten cautioned, “Although this growth is positive and the country is one of the Africa’s most exciting travel destinations, it remains relatively unknown and is heavily dependent on intraregional tourists. Indeed, as far as long-haul markets are concerned, it is probably Africa’s best-kept secret”. He added, “However these forecasts show that, with the right policy framework, Botswana has the potential not only to expand rapidly but also to significantly broaden its tourism product base, appealing to much a wider range of tourist tastes and budgets.”
Botswana’s Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Honourable Onkokame Kitso Mokaila announced that Travel & Tourism will be made a priority for the country’s economy, which can no longer depend on its mining industry “This report comes at a crucial point for Botswana and will help the government to reach the highest level of potential that can be realised. Travel & Tourism will contribute enormously to the country’s economy and we are committed to running a conscious campaign to publicize the strategic role and benefits of tourism in order to stimulate a more positive perception to the wider public”.
Baumgarten affirmed that the Botswana Government has set many examples in terms of how to run a country’s Travel & Tourism industry and how to preserve its environment, culture and heritage. He went on to outline a series of policy recommendations that the Government should apply to its Travel & Tourism strategy. These recommendations include:
Prioritise tourism, review tourism and re-examine the institutional structure
Improve policy coordination and implementation
Devote sufficient resources to tourism research and monitoring
Improve air transport services for long-haul markets
Promote tourism product diversification
Encourage community-based initiatives
Promote an explicit linkage to all stakeholders
Improve land allocation for tourism purposes
Continue conservation and environmental efforts to achieve sustainable tourism
Invest in preparing Botswana’s citizens for careers in tourism
Act to ease water and energy constraints
Support technological innovation in the tourism sector
Ease travel restrictions wherever possible