Latest figures released by Statistics Botswana (SB) on Friday shows that Botswana recorded a decline in the number of tourist arrivals in the country during the year 2013. Despite the decline, the number remains above the 2 million mark which was first achieved in 2010.
The latest annual statistics report which was released by the government agency on Friday depicts a 1.0 percent decline in tourist arrivals in the year 2013 compared to the year 2012. According to the report, Botswana received a total of 2,598,158 arrivals in 2013 compared to 2,612,555 in 2012, reflecting a decline of 14, 397.
A breakdown of the data indicates that male tourists arrivals accounted for 60.9 percent (1,583,408) which is an increase of 1.1 percentage points from the previous year.
On nationality breakdown, researchers at Statistics Botswana say that Zimbabweans continue to dominate in the number of arrivals, having accounted for 31.8 percent (825,717) of 2,598,158. This is followed by South Africa with 742,639 (28.6 percent) while Zambians represented 12.8 percent (331, 799) of total 2013 arrivals into the country. The United States of America and the United Kingdom also accounted for arrivals above one percent of 2013 total arrivals, at 5.4 percent (139, 752) and 1.9 percent (50, 589) respectively, as shown in Table 1. The African continent accounted for 82.6 percent (2, 144,904) of total arrivals during the year. Arrivals from Europe accounted for 7.1 percent (184, 717) while those from America represented 6.8 percent (175,668) of 2013 total arrivals. Oceania was the continent with the least number of arrivals, accounting for 1.4 percent (35,656).
Although Botswana is keen to develop its tourism market by attracting 6 million annual visitors by 2020, the Ebola outbreak which struck several countries in West Africa in 2014 is also believed to have had an impact on tourism in Botswana.
Botswana has enormous potential as a tourism destination. The country boasts a wider range of unspoiled eco-tourism attractions and could potentially grow to rival┬ábetter┬áestablished safari destinations such as Kenya and South Africa.┬áA BMI research report released at the end of quarter one, 2015 (Q1:2015) predicts a positive outlook for the outbound tourism market from Botswana which, although smaller than inbound travel, is expected to show stronger growth throughout our forecast period to 2019.