The Botswana Tourism Board (BTB) recently gave an update on the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency film and TV series which finished shooting a few weeks ago.
According to the report compiled by the BTB, the book has, to date, achieved the Mma Ramotswe phenomenon and has received extensive and rave reviews. “Due to this book, the bush tea sales have also sky rocketed,” said BTB Chief Executive Officer, Myra Sekgororoane.
The report says worldwide distribution has been secured and the film is expected to trigger additional book sales which are estimated at between 300 000 and 1.5 million copies. Also in place is a commitment from the BBC for 13 episodes.
This report stated that shooting of this movie in Botswana had increased tourism arrivals, and there is an exceptionally wider international awareness on Botswana that the book has already created. The movie is also expected to enhance and sell the Botswana Brand thus reducing the cost of branding. “The movie is a processor for 2010,” said Sekgororoane.
She said the film provided a platform to promote Botswana diamonds, and also has an opportunity to restore the image tarnished by the CKGR issue.
“The film is a vehicle to maintain momentum following the 2006 Diamonds for Good campaign in the United States,” she stated. “And it is a counter measure for future projects similar to the Blood Diamond movie.”
If Botswana had ignored this opportunity, the report discloses that it could have given up its competitive edge to other countries like South Africa.
“We also could have lost invaluable contacts and relationships with the international film industry, a reputation for entrepreneurship as well as a reputation for capacity to attract investors,” Sekgororoane said.
The report touches on lessons learned from other countries saying that in New Zealand, the annual tourist influx jumped 40 percent after the movie, Lords of the Rings, was shot there while Romania got a US $260 million industry following the success of Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain. Kenya’s resurgence as a tourist destination is credited to the filming there of Tomb Raider and the Constant Gardner. “Indeed this is the dawn of a new beginning,” said Sekgororoane.
The report says the film, which was completed in Botswana in mid-September, is now in post production stage in the USA and is scheduled for airing in the UK in December. There is also a possibility of a premier in Botswana early next year, said Sekgororoane.
Locations used in Botswana during the shooting of this film include the main film set at Kgale Hill, Speedy Motors in Tlokweng, Gabane, Zebras Drive House, Extensive Warehouse wardrobe and indoor film shoot, Gweta, the Makgadikgadi and Nxai pans, and the Okavango Delta.
Over 1, 200 Batswana were employed as actors and extras. There was also extensive international publicity in the UK’s Mail on Sunday, the New York Times, Mnet’s Studio 53 and on CNN.
Sekgororoane has urged Batswana to use the extensive world-wide awareness and publicity created by this film to launch Botswana Brand as national branding is costly. She announced that there are 13 episodes contracted with BBC over the next five years. “BTB is currently exploring the opportunity to create a permanent film set – Mma Ramotswe tours,” said Sekgororoane.