Tuesday, October 19, 2021

“Low volume, high value” policy dampens growth in tourism sector?

There is fear that the ‘low volume high value policy” has closed out Batswana who want to venture into tourism while promoting enclave tourism.

According to University of Botswana Okavango Research Centre the low volume high value policy has closed out many Batswana who want to venture into tourism while promoting the dominance of international tourists, foreign safari companies and investors.

The University of Botswana Okavango Research Centre, Director Professor Joseph Mbaiwa has indicated that there is a need to revisit the policy which has promoted foreign ownership of hot spot tourism areas such as Okavango Delta. 

Mbaiwa indicated that as result of the lack of diversified tourism sector in Botswana tourists tend to choose places such as Okavango Delta and Chobe as their holiday destinations.

 He said that due to lack of diversified tourism in Botswana the tourism sector which is dominated by the foreign investors in the delta tend to benefit.

He argued that low volume high value policy promotes enclave tourist at the exclusion of Batswana.

He argued that there is a need to revisit the policy to empower citizens who want to venture into tourism.

Mbaiwa could not want to be drawn to comment on whether the policy is a fallacy as he indicated that the policy needs to be revisited.

Mbaiwa is of the view that currently the policy which targets high end tourists by foreign owned companies is not allowing Batswana to set up business in the hot spot tourism areas.

 He indicated that currently the policy has not been implemented as it is evident that areas such as Chobe river waterfront has been obliterated due to high traffic of tourists visiting the area.

Mbaiwa also indicated that the government through Environment,Wildlife Minister , Tshekedi Khama’s wish to subdivide some of the concession areas and give them to Batswana to address the domination of foreign companies will not come to exist.

Mbaiwa was of the view that as result of enclave tourism which is dominated by foreign companies such move will not take place since some of the companies have lease agreements which goes up to 50 to 90 years. He said that Khama’s wish will not take place since foreign companies feel that they are the ones who can run companies in the delta.

Khama had indicated a year back that there was  need to subdivide concessions areas that will be given to Batswana since domestic tourists were unable to pay exorbitant prices for holiday packages in the delta.

Though Mbaiwa has dismissed Khama’s wish the minister indicated that the move was to allow domestic tourists to visit the delta since most of tour operators in the delta currently put profits first and thus locking out a number of domestic tourists  in the country as tour operators normally target the upper end of the market ,including the rich from US.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper