Despite the tourism sector’s potential for growth and contribution to the national economy, Botswana is still unable to retain up to 90 percent of revenue generated by the local tourism. According to statistics from Botswana Tourism, only 10 percent of the domestic tourism revenue is retained locally whilst the rest is claimed by foreign countries.
A collaborative research work paper conducted by three international partners, the African Development Bank (AFDB), the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) indicates that this is partly because the bulk of Botswana’s tourist bookings are handled in South Africa.
At the same time, Botswana’s tourism sector supply chain is foreign-dominated, a set up which is said to be contributing to the loss of revenue. As such the three organisations, regarded as Botswana’s strategic development partners calls for an urgent reforms with a focus on management to ensure that a greater proportion of the tourism revenue is retained in the country.
“Whilst the Botswana Tourism Board is doing a good job of marketing Botswana’s tourism services, three other areas require urgent attention. One is the diversification of the product’s emphasis on wildlife. Culture, for instance, is an option,” read the report.
It further stated that Botswana should also consider enhancing the sector’s capacity to provide services. Available figures show that in 2013 travel and tourism directly supported 31,000 jobs, 4.6 percent of total employment. This is expected to rise by 2.5 percent in 2014 to 41,000 jobs.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report on┬áthe economic impact of tourism in Botswana in 2014 also shows that the direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was P5, 486.6 million which was 3.2 percent of total GDP last year.
The research also indicated that travel and tourism investment in 2013 was P1, 846.9 million, which was equivalent to┬á7.6 percent of total investment. It added that the investment should rise by 8.4 percent in 2014, and 4.5 percent per annum over the next ten years to P3, 111.6 million in 2024, 8.1 percent of total. Botswana’s leisure travel spending, inbound and domestic, generated 76.4 percent of direct travel and tourism GDP in 2013 about P9, 688.1 million compared with 23.6 percent for business travel spending P2, 994.5 million. The issue of loss of revenue cropped at the last Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee meeting at which the Permanent Secretary responsible for tourism Neil Fitt indicated that the government is aware of the current set up. He could not however commit to when will the situation be corrected.