By Calistus Bosaletswe
The Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) is expected to spend millions of Pula again to host a “I love Botswana” ensemble similar to the one held in New York, USA earlier this year.
BTO is expected to dig deep in their pockets to fund another show in Botswana despite having been heavily criticised for spending millions on “I love Botswana” ensemble off-Broadway-New York.
The appointment of Thea Khama who is the wife of Environment Wildlife and Tourism Minister – Tshekedi Khama’s wife as a patron of ensemble of-Broadway-New York was among issues that attracted criticism from members of the public.
Tshekedi however defended the “I Love Botswana” ensemble arguing that it was meant to promote the country in USA where most of tourists who visit Botswana come from. The minister indicated that such as events has a potential to attract more tourists into the country.
“We have seen in the past where Botswana saw an increase of tourists’ arrivals from Germany after Botswana Tourism Organisation partnered with ITB Berlin which is the world’s largest tourism trade fair. This gave the country a platform to promote itself hence we saw an increase on tourists’ arrivals from Germany”, said Tshekedi.
Tshekedi said there was nothing wrong with promoting the country when quizzed on why the tax payer’s money was spent on “I Love Botswana” ensemble when the country is not offering cultural tourism in Botswana.
He indicated that despite that “I Love Botswana” ensemble was promoting cultural tourism which is not offered in Botswana, there was a need to continue promoting it in an effort to diversify tourism sector. He was of the view that the country should promote cultural tourism as the country move towards diversifying the tourism which is dependent on wildlife based tourism.
According to Tshekedi the show similar to the one that took place off -Broadway will take place in Botswana.
Meanwhile the organisers are said to be currently working towards acquiring lights that could make an event a success in the capital Gaborone.
The much anticipated ensemble comes at a time when pundits like the University of Botswana Okavango Research Institute Director -Professor Joseph Mbaiwa keeps on calling for Botswana to promote cultural tourism.
Mbaiwa says Botswana has been endowed with diverse culture and heritage that can be promoted as tourism packages.
He maintains that there is need for tourism companies that operates their business in hot spot tourism areas to promote cultural tourism since most of the communities reside within areas where this tourism establishment are running their business.