Thursday, September 24, 2020

Gov’t urges private sector to invest in diamond museums

The Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Lefoko Moagi has urged the private sector to invest in Diamond Attraction Centres – known as diamond museums.

Speaking in Parliament recently Moagi expressed eagerness to establish diamond tourist attraction centres across the country taking a leaf from Debswana Diamond Company which has constructed the Adrian Gale Diamond Museum in Orapa – operational since 2018.

The concept of a diamond museum, the minister said, was established as part of Debswana Diamond Company’s sustainable development initiatives as well as to support mine closure plans. The Adrian Gale Diamond Museum is an educational and tourist facility in celebration of Botswana’s rich diamond heritage.

“The Museum presents the metaphoric story of “from Crust to Crown. How the discovery of diamonds in Orapa in 1957 forever changed the economy of Botswana from being one of the poorest countries in the world at independence to a middle-income country today and now striving towards a high-income economy. Debswana diamonds and replicas are displayed in the Museum for the public to appreciate and the museum is currently in full operation and open in the public and tourists,” Minister Moagi said.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Ghanzi South Motsamai Motsamai had asked Moagi if his ministry would consider establishing a Diamond Attraction Centre which will provide information and samples of diamonds for viewing to raise revenue for Government and awareness on the diamond industry.

Across different regions around the world, mining and tourism activities are growing side by side. Mining tourism has been described as any form of tourist activity in industrial sites, technological sites and industrial heritage sites. 

When mines are closed at the end of operation this creates an opportunity for the development of mining tourism. Most frequently, these sites are carefully prepared as tourism products. There are visible interactions between mining and tourism. The quality of these associations is influenced by awareness of authorities and local governments in potential industrial and post-industrial areas. 

Further, MP Motsamai quizzed the minister on whether or not the ministry is doing enough to attract interest from locals and foreigners.

Moagi highlighted that mines are attracting other activities that will keep them alive such as game parks, museum exhibition and centre for information dissemination. 

“Efforts will never appease everyone, it is a lifelong learning experience, so we will continue to teach people about what is there so that Batswana take the lead in caring for these museums without help from outsiders,” Moagi said.

“It is true we must expand our tourism linked to diamonds because when we talk about diamonds and tourism, they are the leading contributor to the GDP in Botswana. When we look at all the mines in Botswana, they are repackaging themselves to have game) and fauna so that the public can be interested in other parts of the country,” he said.

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