Official figures show that local tourism suffered its worst year in 2020 as international arrivals dropped by 80.4 percent.
According to latest tourist statistics by Statistics Botswana, the country welcomed fewer international arrivals in 2020 than in the previous years due to among others travel restrictions imposed to fight COVID-19.
While the statistics do not show how the collapse of the international travel cost the country in revenue, it shows that in 2020, the country received a total of 358,225 visitors, with 91.7 percent (328, 502) attributable to tourists (overnight visitors) while same day visitors accounted for 8.3 percent (29,723).
“Tourists and traveller arrivals declined by 80.4 percent (1,472,049) and 80.7 percent (2,087,077) respectively compared to 2018. The top ten overseas countries accounted for 5.6 percent of total tourists during the year,” the report shows.
It says tourists who came for “Holiday” accounted for 19.6 percent of total tourists during 2020, while those who were “Visiting Friends & Relatives” (VFR) and “Business” represented 11.2 percent and 20.1 percent respectively.
Tourists who entered the country by air represented 4.1 percent of total tourists during the year. Among the tourists who came by air, Sir Seretse Khama International Airport accounted for 98.5 percent, while those who entered through Maun International Airport represented 1.2 percent.
Botswana just like the rest of the world imposed travel restrictions for inbound travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Most border posts were closed at the beginning of April 2020, with only a few opened to facilitate essential travel during 2020. The pandemic impacted the world towards the end of 2019, gaining a foothold in 2020.
Travel in and out of the country was restricted. Tourists refer to both same day visitors and overnight visitors.
Figures show that January was the most popular month of arrival for tourists during 2020, with 27.1 percent, followed by February and March at 25.7 percent and 19.4 percent respectively. This pattern, the report shows, is attributable to the fact that flights were cancelled and a moratorium placed on visas as part of Covid-19 travel restrictions from April 2020.
Age group 35 to 39 years accounted for 17.7 percent of total tourists during the year. A total of 500, 434 arrivals were received, while 527,933 departures were recorded in 2020. In-Transit travelers accounted for 28.1 percent (140, 522) of all arrivals during the same year. The report shows that Tlokweng Border Post recorded the highest number of arrivals during 2020, accounting for 19.2 percent (91,148) while 18.9 percent (95,264) of all departures went out through the same border post.