Assistant minister of Finance and Development Planning, Charles Tibone, has acknowledged the noble initiative employed by the country’s notable hospitality industry in bringing the elusive economic diversification agenda a new meaning.
The listed Cresta Marakanelo Group has, over recent years, embarked on a series of refurbishment exercises of its facilities across the country with the management on Wednesday unveiling, for the first time to the public, the revamped Cresta Lodge in Gaborone, which is seen as a milestone development towards the sustained economic diversification process.
“The re-opening of the improved Cresta Lodge signifies yet another milestone achievement by both Cresta Marakanelo Group and Botswana Development Corporation towards sustained economic diversification,” said the minister.
“As government, we recognise the imperative of continuously improving the business environment in Botswana in order for the private sector to play an increasing role in the development of the country.”
The group has refurbished the hotel to bring it to an international competitive standard.
“One of the main focus of government’s development strategy has been the creation of new economic opportunities through sustained economic diversification. This need for sustained economic diversification has been central and influenced most of the policy decisions made with regard to macroeconomic management, fiscal monetary and exchange rate policies as well as more focused sectoral policies, such as the industrial policy and institutional development.”
The refurbishment and re-launching of Cresta Lodge is seen as an impetus to the development of the recently introduced development hubs such as the innovation, transport, education and diamond hub, which the government anticipates would support the diversification process.
On the same side of the coin, this transition is envisaged to attract tourists and promote the tourism sector ÔÇô another area the government is fighting tooth and nail to accomplish to fulfill its ambitious plan of diversification.
“You will agree with me that the provision of good quality hospitality and conferencing services is essential for the development of other sectors of the economy and in attracting foreign direct investment. Specifically a hotel of standard of Cresta Logde promotes tourism and other business through the services they offer,” Tibone noted, adding “in its business the hotel will provide jobs for Batswana, buy goods and services from local companies, pay tax to government and bring in foreign exchange.”
Cresta Lodge cost a whooping P28 million, which included the construction of the state of the art conference centre, gym and coffee lounge and the refurbishment and expansion of Chatters restaurant, the reception and overhaul of all 160 bedrooms.