The visit of the British royals, Prince William and his brother Harry, to Botswana in the past week is expected to boost Botswana’s international image as a tourist destination of choice.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), Myra Sekgororoane, it would be na├»ve of anyone to expect an overnight swelling of the country’s tourism market, following the visit of the royals here.
“However, on account of the profile and amount of influence the duo command, we are happy that the world will want to see what is there in Botswana that attracts people of their stature to this part of the world,” said Sekgororoane.
On that basis, Sekgororoane pointed out that the visit by the two Princes was a privilege to Botswana in many respects as they could still have opted to come as quietly as they have always done, unnoticed.
“So for the mere fact that they made this deliberate decision we are abundantly grateful, and we are confident that it is only a matter of time before we actually see a manifestation of the impact of their tour,” the BTO chief added.
The British market is presently rated as the top most source of tourists coming to Botswana, and as such it is generally believed, and BTO shares this view, that on the basis of the confidence created by the royals’ visit more Britons are likely to come to Botswana.
“Although Botswana is already known in the United Kingdom, the visit further offered us an opportunity to be known worldwide,” said Sekgororoane in an interview, adding that it was “so phenomenal”.
The British High Commissioner to Botswana, Jennifer Anderson, expressed the view that the significance of the visit by William and his brother lay in that it was a reaffirmation of the value that her government continues to attach to the relationship between her country and Botswana.
“This also confirms the UK’s continued commitment to a happy and prosperous post-colonial relationship with Botswana which so far been conspicuous in our cooperation in the economic, political and educational as well other important spheres of life,” said Anderson.
To what extent the authorities in the tourism industry, including the BTO, would ably optimize the potential benefits arising from the opportunity of exposure the country stands to gain from the tour by the royals is still to be observed.