Friday, September 25, 2020

Botswana Tourism moves to diversify product

In a move aimed at broadening Botswana tourism products, promoters said this week they are looking at ways of diversifying the sector with projects based on around dams, events, sports and culture around the country.

Already, three projects involving communities and trusts are at stages of development and could be running before the end of the year.

“It is not sustainable to rely on a certain product,” said Myra Sekgororoane, Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Tourism Organisation on Friday.

“We need to create other areas that do not rely on wildlife and focus on other areas that are not developed,” she said.

The move is also aimed at helping reducing complaints of Botswana as an expensive destination especially the concentration in pristine destination of The Okavango Delta.

Already three areas have been selected as forerunners in this drive.

Some of the projects coming to fruition that the public may not be aware of include the development of eco-tourism project in Tshabong, the development of a cultural village in Kasane and non consumptive tourism project in Tswapong Hills.

The Tshabong Ecotourism Pilot Project will be based around the camels and desert and it will include putting up accommodation facilities and camel back safaris.

“It is a pilot project because after it takes off in Tshabong, we can take it to other areas and replicate it,” said Sekgororoane, adding that as tourists come to the camels’ kraal, they will pay a certain some of money.

She revealed that Botswana has enlisted the help of Kenya Camels Association (KCA) and they will be in the country to help set up the centre.

The project will be done through a government partnership with Tsamama Trust based in the Kgalagadi area.

The other move to help spread the tourism offering will be to use culture as tourism in Kasane through the development of a cultural village together with Seboba Community Trust.

The trust has been allocated a riverfront piece of land between the Mowana Safari Lodge and Prison farm for this development.

The project will bring the culture of the people around the area and other hotels and lodges will also use the centre.

On the other hand, another project will be around the Moremi area.

The Moremi Manonnye Community Trust has been granted permission to utilise the Moremi gorge, which is a national monument in the Tswapong Hills.

Sekgororoane said the project will include building a bridge along the Lotsane River, construction of accommodation facilities and development of walkways.

Botswana Tourism is also facilitating joint ventures for the Nata Bird Sanctuary area where two lodges, campsite and other lodges at CT 5 will be developed for a sum of P30 million.

The project will be done between an unnamed company and Nata Bird Sanctuary Trust.

Other joint ventures will be for development of a five star Ngoma Lodge at a cost of P8. 8 million through a partnership with Chobe Enclave Conservation Trust.

“We are very excited about the project,” said Sekgororoane.

There will be another development of a lodge at NG 18 in Khwai area though a partnership with Khwai Development Trust.

Despite all these efforts, questions will be raised about these new diversification projects as they ignore areas around the Greater Gaborone.

There has been talk of Destination Gaborone for a long time, but critics say there is no progress.

Gaborone is mostly characterised by hotels and a tourist life has been made difficult by restrictive entertainment controls.

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