Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Vincent Seretse, is expected to open the annual Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) conference with the theme “Unleashing Economic Potential through Tourism”. It is scheduled for Kasane, on April 27 and 28.
HATAB Acting Chief Executive Officer, Lily Rakorong, told Sunday Standard that the conference is targeting government as the major stakeholder, which developed the policy and regulatory framework. She said private sector organizations and non-governmental organizations are also expected to participate.
Rakorong highlighted that the objectives of the conference are to engage different stakeholders to discuss pertinent issues in the tourism sector and come up with resolutions and timelines. She further said tourism is a cross-cutting sector, hence the need to constantly engage different stakeholders. She added that some of the tourism successes are dependent on the performance of other sectors.
Through this year’s theme, government has identified tourism as a sector with immense potential as it can channel economic growth.
“The conference offers all stakeholders the platform to discuss available opportunities and challenges that hinder progress, performance, and growth of the sector,” she explained.
Rakorong stated that the conference is also a networking platform which offers business linkages and synergies. She said the conference is essential for business to consumer, and for business to business marketing, adding that it helps in attracting new clients, gathering business leads; assess competitors, market research for re-strategizing, forming partnerships and strengthening buyer and seller relations. She also said it is important to look to the future, and added that they need to be exploring virtual shows, and keep up with the international tourism trade trends.
Rakorong highlighted that challenges in the tourism sector include an enabling environment for tourism business development and growth, and she gave an example of lack of implementation of government policies and lack of synergy on the government policy and regulatory framework.
She revealed that stakeholders expected to take part at the conference include tourism operators, government- Ministry of Environment Wildlife & Tourism, Ministry of Transport & Communications, Ministry of Labour & Home Affairs, Diplomats, different parastatal organizations, different private sector organizations and non-governmental organizations.
“We are expecting 200 delegates and so far we have confirmed 170 and we are now at the final stage, the conference is in two weeks therefore we are wrapping up,” she confirmed.