Kasane – The Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism (MENT), Philda Nani Kereng has said that eyes are on Botswana in as far as sustainable tourism that is implemented the African way is concerned.
She was giving a keynote address during the launch of a project titled; ‘Improving livelihoods of communities in the Hwange-Kazuma-Chobe wildlife dispersal area through meaningful participation in tourism joint venture partnerships’ the past week at Mowana Lodge, Kasane.
She revealed that she told other ministers at a summit in Kenya, where ministers responsible for tourism gathered that Botswana has a tourism model that ensures participation by all citizens. It is not designed to be shared by the few wealthy in the society. Kenyan officials, she said might land for a bench marking trip in the country around October this year
She therefore expressed delight for officiating at the launch of such an important project where already there was evidence of collaboration with international and local partners to support livelihoods of people in the Chobe area.
“As you all know, the Chobe area has been hard hit by the effect of reduced numbers of visitors due to COVID 19. As a result, many of the people who were dependent on the tourism industry have been affected,” said minister Kereng.
She said her ministry has been spending sleepless nights soliciting support for the affected communities. Of particular note, she said they were fortunate enough to have acquired support to local communities from the German Cooperation specifically to financially support communities within the KAZA Region.
“This initiative is in line with the government’s reset agenda which emphasises on the development of value chains in various sectors in order to open up opportunities for the locals. In areas such as the Chobe district the development of tourism value chain can be a key economic driver as more Batswana will be able to participate in the tourism sector creating much needed jobs,” said Kereng
The project according to Virat Motshereganyi Kootsositse, Director of Birdlife Botswana(BlB), is to be implemented by his Non-Governmental Organisation NGO).