The newly appointed Fairgrounds Holdings Chief Executive Officer Gorata Gabaraane looks to position the organization as a premier player and leader in the meetings,incentive,conferences and exhibitions (MICE)sector of hospitality and tourism industry.
Gabaraane who previously served at Botswana Investment and Trade Centre and Cresta group amongst other organisations, has this week revealed her intentions to turn Fairgrounds holdings into an upmarket lifestyle hub.
“Infrastructure development is key and urgent for us here at Fairgrounds holdings. The organisation is at its planning stages;in working towards the development of a feasibility study to assess the relevance of developing an upmarket lifestyle hub. That would cater for diverse clientele providing a work, stay and play environment in the medium term.”
The feasibility study has been outsourced to an unnamed company and the project is at phase two of its stage. The fairgrounds holdings infrastructure which is commonly known for hosting the annual Botswana Consumer Fair, known by a household name “ditshupo/show” has now aged and does not appetise enough to attract modern day clientele.
“We need to urgently uplift our facilities and go into a stage where we can compete. The local market is small and we want to compete in the space of attracting international conferencing. Our scope is going to be bigger than normal and we intent to make our mark in every way possible.,” she said with optimism.
Fairgrounds also intends to manage events which are outside fairgrounds holdings.
Gabaraane also stressed out that there is need to move away from a venue provider notion and continue developing world class content for new and additional sector specific exhibitions and conferences. The new chief executive believes that this is an area that is untapped in which competitors continue to struggle with.
At a national level, Fairgrounds holdings aims to continue to play its catalytic part through membership at HATAB and other relevant forums in influencing change and implementation of reforms that directly affect its business.
The new chief executive has said the organization is suitably positioned to be the centre of excellence inhospitality skills development sphere. To this end, it will work with hotel and tourism institutions by offering career enriching internship programs, in this way ensuring an active role in creating a natural pool for selecting above average future employees. Most employers had always raised concerns of Botswana institutions producing graduates who are not skilled enough for the working environment, hence the Fairgrounds is working to alleviate such a red tape, by offering practical trainings to the graduates to ready them for the work environment.
With regards to corporate social responsibility, the group will continue to support community projects; amongst them the Botswana Police, Botswana Red Cross Society, Botswana Society for the Deaf, Holly Cross Hospice. The group is also looking to supporting other ongoing projects that are led by other organisations where it feels it can naturally bring in domain expertise.