Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Botswana’s Travel & Tours businesses in strain

Travel and tourism sector has bemoaned lack of business as a result of Covid 19 sponsored movement restrictions.

The country was demarcated into zones last year after recording the first case of the novel coronavirus to monitor movement of people between zones. Since then, individuals need to apply for online permits to be able to move across zones.

Those traveling to or from high-risk Covid-19 zones may be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test. Precautionary health measures, such as social distancing between passengers, are in place on domestic flights. Passengers must submit to health screenings before boarding flights. 

A 35 travel tours Manager, Tumo Kenalemang said since demarcation last year, travel and tours business has gone down due to government decision to require permits.

He said since last year, the business has been low as travel ban is regularly imposed during holidays.

“We have had many situations where travel was banned and mind you, clients had paid and, in this case, we have to reimburse and that is an expense because we reserve accommodation at a fee.”

“Clients are also difficult, they would never compromise or allow a certain fee to be deducted from their payment when told that there is a travel ban, so as a business we end up taking the entire risk” said Kenalemang.

He said as a result of regular travel ban, the business had to put some workers on unpaid leave as there was nothing that could be shared with them.

“We do not expect the situation to get better this year unless government ramps up vaccination because some of our regular clients are skeptical to travel due to the increasing rate of infection,” added Kenalemang.

He further pleaded with government to subsidize local travelers when conducting covid tests in private health facilities.

For her part, Kagiso Motsamai of Ayebo travel and tours indicated that the sector is at a great risk of collapse, saying that the slow of vaccination continues to drive away potential clients.

Motsamai highlighted that slow vaccination has reduced the number of clients they used to drive to tourism destinations.

“Things have turned out for the worst this year because of the new variant and people are even scared to travel because all they need for them to travel is vaccination,” added Motsamai.

Motsamai further said government should also decrease tourism fees in order to encourage locals to utilize local tourism.

“This is the right time for Batswana to utilize local tourism and that can only happen if government can act on ensuring that prices in local facilities are reduced” said Motsamai.

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