The just ended tourism exposition has been hailed by international exhibitors as having provided a dynamic and exciting platform to create strong strategic business relationships and to market their countries.
The expo, which was organised to meet the needs of regional and international exhibitors, boasted of eleven international exhibitors. These included, Destinations Luxury Travel, India Tourism, Kwa Zulu Natal Tourism, South Africa, Namibia Tourism, Namibia, Dubai Tourism, Dubai, South Africa and Intercape.
The Namibian representative said they realise that Botswana, being landlocked, is a primary market for them to target for tourism. “Batswana want to go to the coast and over the years Namibia has been their destination of choice,” said Esther McDanty, the Account executive at Namibia Tourism Organisation.
McDanty said they got enough time and exposure to market their products. Statistics show that each year during various holidays a large number of people travels out of Botswana for leisure.
“Batswana have a spending culture and we are confident we will see an influx of tourists into our country as a result of this expo,” said Bailey Sorsp from Dubai Tourism. She added that they have managed to strike business deals with local operators.
However, it was a real shame on the part of Botswana as only one exhibitor, Destinations Luxury Travel, participated. The Botswana tourism organization did not participate in the country’s first tourism expo.
“Our local operators were very skeptical to participate as they all said they were not sure of the success of the expo,” said Lebogang Moitoi, Head of Public Relations and Marketing at Lilac.
She said regional tourism operators valued the opportunity they got to market and promote various holiday packages and the local market and sell holiday packages. “Botswana also has something that is attractive that Batswana have to sell to other countries,” she said.
During the three days, tourism operators managed to expand their business services by forging business networks with tourism stakeholders from the region and internationally.
“We will have people travelling out of the country and not having tourists coming in because we failed to sell our country to international exhibitors,” she said.
Moitoi said she is hopeful that next year they will have a bigger and better expo with much participation from locals.
“It is our hope that next year there will be more local tourism providers participating in the expo,” she said.