Sunday, September 27, 2020

“Botswana adventure trumps Hollywood action?”

BEIJING ÔÇô Dreaming of an otherworldly setting with eye-popping flora and fauna that surrounds you living 3D? Looking for a luxury adventure beyond any 007 setting?

If so then the Okavango region is the place to be according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), as well as the still to remain nameless celebrities, royals and global movers and shakers who regularly slip in and out of Botswana’s own Garden of Eden.

In winning the WTTC Destination Stewardship Award in Beijing last week the Okavango Delta Ramsar Site, sponsored by Botswana Tourism, beat out some 160 other entries from around the world, most of which have benefited from far better financed media campaigns. This fact is clearly reflected in the award’s two other finalists, which many considered to be more favored, given their high profile media tie-ins.

Besides having the home field advantage, China’s already well marketed Mount Huangshan Scenic Site gained a windfall of additional publicity in recent months when it was identified as having been an inspiration for the CGI generated topography Pandora, the fantasy moon setting of the all-time blockbuster movie “Avatar”.

Movie fans may also remember the recent James Bond movie “Casino Royal” as an embedded tourism commercial for second runner up Montenegro, whose “wild beauty” advertisements have become a fixture on CNN and elsewhere.

But in the end, with the world’s cameras rolling the top prize went to the Botswana Tourism organization for doing more with less. Perhaps the best news is that now that the prize has been won we can expect to see the Okavango and Botswana tourism in general being much more in the global media spotlight in the coming months.

The WTTC Destination Tourism Award is given in recognition of a destination, country or region whose local enterprises along with authorities show the greatest success in maintaining a program of sustainable tourism management.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.