The visiting delegates of Namibia Tourism Board, who were in Gaborone in the past week, have said that they are on a mission to promote Namibia’s tourism in Botswana.
Speaking to the Sunday Standard, one of the representatives, Chantal Matthee, said that they have noticed the potential that Botswana has as far as tourism goes.
She said that apart from the potential, Batswana have disposable income and are willing to spend on trips outside the country. She said that they are making use of the market gap that has been left by the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO).
Matthee said that BTO’s main priority is to market Botswana to the outside world, especially Western countries as compared to marketing Botswana to Batswana themselves.
She added that BTO does not do much for domestic travel within the country and pointed out that this is different from the mandate of the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) because it aims at marketing their tourism to Namibians and countries within the SADC Region, such as South Africa, Zambia, Angola and others, because of the potential that the cross markets have for Namibia.
She also highlighted that NTB is a part of The Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA), which BTO is also a part of. Matthee said that RETOSA allows the different Southern African countries to work together in promoting the tourism sectors.
Adding more on the subject matter, one of the Namibian delegates, Wendie White, said that they have managed to meet with travel agents in Botswana and, through those meetings, they have managed to identify their target market.
She said that the main focus, however, will be around Gaborone. White said that NTB has given them the financial year starting from April 2012 and ending March 2013 to work in Botswana and promote Namibia’s tourism within the country.
She added that they are hoping to be able to achieve their purpose by the end of the given financial year.
White said that they will be promoting the whole of Namibia, especially areas around the coast because they will appeal to Batswana as they come from a landlocked country. Another destination that they will be promoting more is Sossusvlei, which is a salt and clay pan surrounded by big red sand dunes.
White also said that the launch of the direct flight from Gaborone to Windhoek by Air Namibia this past Tuesday will make it easier for travelers because they have been using only buses to Namibia. She added that the flight is available on three days of the week, which are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
The representatives from NTB said that in order to make their mission a success they will start with travel companies in Botswana because the companies know both their market and their needs better.
Among other things, they also plan to do direct marketing to Batswana as well as advertise with the different travel agencies within the country.