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Botswana’s failure to diversify the Botswana tourism from wildlife based tourism has disadvantaged many communities who could have benefitted from the tourism arrivals windfall.
The University of Botswana Okavango Research Centre, Professor Joseph Mbaiwa is of the view that Botswana rich culture should be exploited as another alternative tourism package.
Mbaiwa is convinced that Botswana last attempts to diversify the tourism from wildlife based tourism to other non based wildlife tourism could uplift many ethnic tribes from jaws of poverty in most of tourism hotspots.
He pointed out that Botswana which is endowed with different ethnic tribes has not yet exploited the rich culture as the best alternative to wildlife based tourism.
Mbaiwa indicated that though Botswana is known for its wildlife based tourism there is demand for non wildlife based tourism.
“Those tourists who visit some of the tourism hot spot in Botswana always want to know about the people and culture. Some even demand to go to places where communities live to learn about their culture despite that the tourism companies is not offering such services” said Mbaiwa.
He remains hopeful that with the demand on culture and people centred tourism some of the companies will wake up from their deep slumber and offer alternative services. Mbaiwa remain optimistic that Botswana is endowed with many ethnic tribes that could be exploited as another alternative package.
“We hope that those bestowed with responsibility to promote tourism see this as an opportunity that could be uplift communities in most of hotpot tourism area from poverty despite amass resource that they reside within”, added Mbaiwa.
First People of the Kalahari, Spokesperson , Jumanda Gakelebone says government has subjected residents of Central Kalahari Game Reserve to poverty despite that they could use their rich culture to make a living out of it.
Jumanda was worried that government has in the past failed to empower residents of CKGR to uplift themselves using their culture and lifestyle to set up eco tourism ventures. Jumanda indicated that the most worrying part is where companies use Basarwa culture to promote tourism while people remain poor.
Jumanda was concerned that some companies such as Wilderness Safari was exploiting Basarwa where they are used to conduct bushwalks in CKGR.
He said that it was clear exploitation for the company to use Basarwa to conduct bushwalks for the benefit of those companies while Basarwa remain in abject poverty.