Botswana tourism resilient despite woes in Europe, U.S – minister
by Ngonidzashe Dzimiri
Despite the recession that has now entered into a double dip in some of Botswana’s source markets in Europe, tourism industry has remained extremely resilient, revealed Kitso Mokaila the Minister of environment wildlife and tourism.
“The industry has remained elastic; we have not seen tourism businesses closing down nor have we seen significant staff layoffs,” said Mokaila.
The overall international arrivals have grown by a modest 2 percent between 2009 and 2012
He said there has been gratifying investment into the sector in terms of expansions, major renovations, upgrades and high level entrants into guest house sub sector. There are new capital investments into commercial centers such as Gaborone, Francistown, Mahalapye and Palapye. “This proves investor confidence in the Botswana tourism industry,” said Mokaila.
Botswana earns P5 billion from about two million foreign tourists and over P1 billion from one million locals annually.
Efforts are being made to widen the conservation of natural resources by participating in regional conservation projects. “The success of these projects will widen the scope and horizon of the tourism product,” said Mokaila.
He added that progress is being made in regards to the Kasane tourism development plan. The plan is aimed at transforming the township into a real tourist town, with necessary and appropriate face lift and proper development plan.
Botswana's tourism is dependent on the abundant wildlife resources and wilderness, which are concentrated in the northern part of the country. He said that his ministry is working on efforts to diversify the tourism product, given the country's rich cultural, archaeological and historical attractions.