FRANCISTOWN: In an endeavor to achieve sustainable economic growth and ensure improvement in the tourism sector, the Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) has expanded its curriculum by adding tourism and hospitality programmes to the Francistown campus course offering.
Officially launching the programmes last week, BAC Executive Director Michael Lesolle highlighted that as the institution’s leadership they made a conscious decision to anchor tourism and hospitality offerings at the Francistown campus for human capital development and skills capacity building for the industry.
Further, Lesolle dismissed the perception that the hospitality and tourism industry is a low-end industry with bleak career prospects. He applauded the BAC for the strides they have made in introducing the programmes to offer young people a career path in the tourism and hospitality sector. “We have a responsibility to instill in the minds of young people that tourism and hospitality is a highly rewarding career path and Francistown could provide a lead in this. Therefore the myth must be dispelled which creates a perception that the industry is nothing more that the low-level, non-achiever high school student at the counter of a fast-food restaurant with absolutely no hope of any career prospects. In this regard, a massive amount of damage has been done which will arguably take a relatively long time to repair,” Lesolle lamented adding that as a learning institution this is where they come in.
Despite the sector wrongly perceived, Lesolle encouraged young entrepreneurs who want to venture into the sector to understand that tourism is a huge sector of the Botswana economy. He pointed out that it makes up about 5.3 percent of the country’s GDP. “I believe tourism has the potential to grow far beyond where it is now. We have many advantages, beautiful scenery and other factors which are a source of comfort to an average tourist,” highlighted Lesolle, citing that tourists want to visit the country where there is rule of law, no political unrests and is peaceful.
For his part, BAC Academic Director, Dr Byron Brown stated that since they introduced the programmes they have experienced gradual change in perception and attitudes. “There is now a better understanding of these programmes because they are responding to the needs of the economy. We offer these because as an institution, we want to see our graduates starting their own businesses. So all these programmes are designed to allow students to integrate theoretical knowledge,” added Brown.