Lobatse International Beef Fest – more than just a lifestyle event
Even though the lifestyle aspect is very much a part of the upcoming annual Lobatse International Beef Festival, which takes place from the 29th to the 31st of May at the Lobatse Town Park, the Executive Director of Brand Botswana, Esther Norris, highlighted in a recent brief that the event has economic benefits that Botswana as a country can take advantage of.
“We have seen over a period of time how heritage and cultural events have attracted people to different countries around the world. Tourism continues to play a meaningful role of improving the quality of life of Batswana and as we get more people to come and spend money in our country, the funds will go towards the country’s development,” she said. She further highlighted that the beef industry is an important contributor to the country’s GDP, and the Beef Festival in particular as offering an opportunity for Botswana to celebrate its cuisine especially its beef. Norris emphasized that “The event has the potential to showcase Botswana as a destination of choice for investments, doing business, trade and to tell the world our good story that makes us who we are.”
According to Norris, since 2013 Brand Botswana identified the beef festival as a potential international event to attracts magnitudes of people to gather in a harmonious environment and share delights of Botswana’s pride and they have sponsored the event to the tune of P150 000.
The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) is another sponsor of the Beef Festival. Its Public Relations and Communications Manager, Brian Dioka, expressed their excitement for taking part in this year’s event. “The sponsorship package is not about free meat only, we will also be providing mateng which are an expensive delicacy in other countries and we want the nation to identify with the products of BMC. While you braai, bear in mind that you would be eating meat from the biggest brand in Africa that exports to the European Union and other parts of the world,” he said.
For his part, the event’s founder and organizer, Barolong Seboni said, “This year’s event is bigger and better. The festival is expected to strengthen Lobatse’s image as a major international player in the beef industry. Since its inception the festival has benefited Lobatse a great deal. The event promoted the idea of domestic tourism as it attracts revelers from all over the country and other countries so the town becomes alive and busy,” said Seboni. Talking to TimeOut on the sidelines of the press conference, Seboni made reference to the positive feedback they received from hotels and lodges in Lobatse regarding room occupancy rates which rise to almost 100% on the weekend of the festival.