With the World Cup across the border in neighboring South Africa just less than three months to kick off, local hotels, safaris, travel agencies, and other tourism affiliates are set to benefit, while others are already experiencing a surge in business due to the much anticipated tourist influx into the region.
The revelations were made by many of the participants at the Spotlight Travel workshop on February 18th at the Cresta Lodge in Gaborone. There has been a question lingering in many of Batswana’s minds as to what the Botswana Tourism Board was doing to benefit from the highly revered World Sporting event, which will be held on African soil for the first time.
However, many local tourism companies are exercising all strategies under their reach to have a share of the large cake, courtesy of the World Cup.
Malebogo Masole, the Front Office Supervisor of the Peermont Group, represented in Botswana by The Grand Palm in Gaborone and the Peermont Metcourt in Francistown, said they will directly benefit from the World Cup, come July.
She revealed that so far they have managed to strike an accommodation deal with one of the participating countries. She could, however, not reveal the name of the country nor the place where the team would be residing for security reasons.
Malebogo said in order to meet the FIFA accommodation standards they had to renovate their hotels in order to qualify and their hotels are so far fully booked for the months of May and June due to the flooding of international football lovers into the region.
Mpho Nkoane of Avis, a car rental service provider, said they too are beginning to feel a boom in business because of the World Cup. She said their business growth is witnessed by their almost all out rental of their cars. “To keep up with the coming demand we have decided to increase the fleet of our cars,” she said.
The nationally-owned air service provider, Air Botswana, is also set to profit from the coming World Cup as there will be a lot of tourist traffic passing through, or staying in Botswana in order to watch some of the games commuting from here.
The marketing executive of the latter, Daphne Osenkeng, said to keep up with the upcoming surge in tourists traffic, they have introduced a three times a day Johannesburg to Kasane flight as well as a Johannesburg to Francistown flight.
“To attract customers, we have not increased our fares and we have also introduced an online booking system for convenience; in that way, tourists can book as far as Europe.”
Simply Botswana’s Chief Executive Officer, David Kepaletswe, said his company, which provides a one online stop shop, is already starting to benefit from the World Cup as people are starting to book online. Kepaletswe said initially people were not into the idea of Botswana’s E-Tourism website, which offers customers an opportunity to view, book and buy Botswana’s products online. However, “ international tourists are booking in large numbers as they are used to the idea,” he said confidently.