BY PATIENCE RADISOENG
When it comes to maintaining key and strategic roads, the Botswana government is a let ÔÇôdown.
This is according to the Botswana Tourism Board Chairperson – Laurence Khupe who cited the poor condition of Nata-Maun road, also known as A3 is bad for the economic activity in the area.
Khupe said while a lot of commuters including tourists use the A3 road, it remain neglected. The road’s condition was worsened by the flood some four years back known as “Dineo”.
“If you look at the road of Nata-Maun, you will see lots of potholes. How does a tourist reach his/her destination in an area like these? Clearly the government is failing somewhere,” he noted.
Khupe added that the government should be pushed to address the tourism sector, the same way it recognize the mining sector as tourism is number two in contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said, “If you look at the roads, if you look at their access, if you look at visa applications, if you look at government funding in tourism, it is significantly less than what they will do for any mining operation. I think that lenient in itself is a huge challenge.”
Further scores of tourists have identified the bad roads across the area as one of the factors which spoilt their vacations.
Meanwhile during the February 2018 Parliament session, the then Minister of Transport and Communication – Kitso Mokaila stated that, “I am sure we are all aware that the NataÔÇôMaun road is in a very bad state of disrepair. We are going to reconstruct the whole road from Nata to Maun. As a short-term measure, we are currently resealing the section between Maun and Makalamabedi Veterinary Fence.”
Mokaila said the intention is also not just to do Maun to Nata, it is also to do Maun to Mohembo because that particular line requires a very good road.
“We are putting up A billion Pula Bridge for Mohembo. So, it will be remiss of us not to attend to that road. We are currently evaluating the tenders for that resealing. My hope is that by April we should be starting that particular section of the road,” he concluded.
Still, Khupe said tourism sector should also strive to ensure that even Batswana are able to travel to various destinations within the country, not to just go from where they work (mostly urban areas that is cities and towns) to their home villages and not being able to access whatever cultural or wildlife investors their neighboring area has.
“We need to ensure that all the facilities, all the tourism areas are accessible not only in terms of infrastructure but also in terms of practicing because if our people do not see these things, then they will not appreciate the value of tourism,” he continued.
He stated that he hope that the quotation will be improved as in the past; at community based initiatives some people felt were not undertaken for executive property.
Lastly, Khupe said Batswana want to see the delta but it is not enough as the delta get convisted, so the other part of the country misses out on the amazing, beautiful country in the south where there are beautiful lions that people will ever see anywhere else in the region.