Sport tourism in Botswana hasn’t always been popular.
However, with an increase in national and international sports events happening annually, it is a growing market which the local economy can tap from.
Botswana has hosted the 2nd African Youth Games in Gaborone which attracted 2500 athletes and officials from 54 countries in 2014. The country also provided accommodation and a choice of recreational attractions to entertain the visitors.
According to a Technavio report, the global sports tourism market size will grow by $6,120 billion dollars during the period 2019 and 2023. The report provides a detailed analysis of the market based on sections by various sport codes for both local and international sports tourism.
Botswana should start the year on a good footing for the formal and informal sectors as the Botswana Swimming Sport Association (BSSA) will welcome sportsmen across Southern Africa for the African Swimming Confederation (2020 CANA Zone IV Swimming Competitions) to be hosted in Gaborone.
Participants and supporters will be traveling across the world to converge in the country for the swimming event.
Swimming fans and athletes travelling from different continents are expected to boost the economy of the host country by using paid services like transport and accommodation in Botswana promoting sports tourism.
Stanbic Bank Botswana is sponsoring the event with P250 000 for athletes’ wellbeing and the logistics of the tournament.
Stanbic Bank Head of Marketing, Stephanie Sandridge said, Stanbic is a brand that lives within the community and the role of the funds is to encourage professional sport amongst athletes.
“Stanbic is excited for the opportunities that CANA Zone IV would bring for the athletes. The bank hopes that the fund will shine a spotlight in swimming in the country and attract the right target audience. We hope to transition sports into a professional career to reduce the high unemployment rate amongst the youth in the country,” she noted.
BSSA says the event is CANA Zone IV’s biggest annual swimming event and has grown in popularity and has been standing in Africa over the past 19 years. The association promises to showcase some of the young talent and upcoming swimmers that the southern Africa region has to offer
Team Botswana will compete against 14 countries from the 20th until 23rd February 2020 at the University of Botswana competition venue.
The tournament will include 320 athletes and numerous coaches, team officials and visitors from within the Southern African region. The team will be represented by 40 athletes both female and male.
The sponsors Wimpy and Cresta Lodge will benefit from the event because the BSSA has roped them in to cater services to the participants. The hawkers around UB and public transport operators are also expected to benefit from supporters who will come to watch the competition.
The countries participating are Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The eligible age groups are under 12, under 13/14, Under15/16, Under 17 to 24, except to 800m freestyle which shall be swum as Under 14 and under, 15 to 24 and Masters 25 to 44 and 45 years and over.
Some of the categories that the swimmers will compete in include 800m Freestyle ,50m Breaststroke , 100m Backstroke, 4 x 50m Medley Relay, 200m Freestyle, 200m Breaststroke ,50m Backstroke, 50m Butterfly, 4x100m Freestyle Relay and 400m Freestyle.