- Attributes growth to relaxed travel restrictions
- Notes promotion of citizen participation in tourism
- Lauds strategies that promote domestic and int’l recovery
With tourism a major contributor to the national economy, the Government of Botswana is committed to growing the sector as part of its economic diversification strategy, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has said.
Speaking at the 5th Annual Africa Tourism Leadership Forum (ATLF) and Awards that was held in Gaborone recently, President Masisi said Botswana’s tourism sector is beginning to rebound in 2022 due to more relaxed travel restrictions and a well thought out strategy that saw growth of the domestic market and recovery of the regional and international markets.
“In 2021, we announced a new tourism policy that promotes active citizen participation in the tourism sector,” he noted.
“Botswana’s tourism adaptation of the value chain business is underpinned by the principles of citizen economic empowerment, job creation, tourism product diversification and investment growth as espoused in the Botswana Tourism Policy of 2021.
“A total of six areas have been prioritised for adaptation to the value chain principle, and these include events tourism, cluster development, cultural tourism development, community project-development, community projects and dams tourism.”
President Masisi said the new tourism policy emphasises product development and diversification as a key driver of growth within the tourism industry, and views the promotion of adventure and cultural tourism as an opportunity to attract more arrivals locally, regionally, and globally to complement our traditional wildlife tourism offering.
“This move towards increased activity plays a positive role in our economy and in creating employment in varied geographical locations,” he stated.
President Masisi used the occasion to encourage the private sector to lead the way in investing in experiences and creating packaged deals that are attractive to tourists with varying preferences.
“And these include heritage and cultural tourism so that we can bring more value to Africa’s offerings,” he said. “Our continent is renowned for its beauty and the quality of establishments and high service excellence.
“Now more than ever before, we must continue to maintain this enviable reputation. However, to harness this potential we have to work together. The only way to achieve success and unprecedented tourism growth and job creation is by coming together, capitalizing on each other’s strengths and working as one.”
President Masisi urged stakeholders who participated at the conference and in the tourism sector at large to take concrete action that will deliver the catalytic growth that the sector and indeed African economies need.
“Tourism has a deep and wide value chain, which offers many Small Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) opportunities, and we should look at opportunities to enhance value chains amongst ourselves as Africans,” he noted.
He said Africa should also nurture its tourism economy so that it promotes inclusive growth so that those who were previously disadvantaged are empowered in a meaningful way, which includes unlocking the true potential of SMMEs.