Wilderness Safaris says it is fired up after the biggest airliner in AfricaÔÇöSouth African Airways (SAA) awarded the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) primary listed company with a sought after recognition award.
“The recognition is important as air access is critical for traveling,” Andy Payne, Wilderness Safaris Chief Executive Officer, told Sunday Standard after receiving the award at Indaba 2010.
The SAA Award was the airliner’s acknowledgement to the company that hosts thousands of tourists who come to the SADC area annually.
Equally, the airliner is the largest in the region and transports passengers who end in camps operated by Wilderness.
“We are very proud. It (SAA) recognises we are the big mover,” added Payne.
Wilderness Safaris hosts 25, 000 travelers annually at its operations.
Payne added that instead of the company he runs becoming complacent, the award has made him ‘fired up’, adding that the awards and lists as benchmarks are a big motivation.
“We need all the help we can get when times are hard and this raises our profile,” he added.
Payne added that the industry, especially his operations, are beginning to peak following the worst economic recession ever.
Countries that are the major travel market for Botswana, including the US, United Kingdom and other European countries are coming out of recession.
Payne said: “Relative to last year, we are seeing an improvement.”
However, this is below the peak of 2007-08. October 2008 has been terrible for the industry as a whole.
Another factor, which is affecting the travel sector, is the recent volcanic eruptions in Europe. The eruptions, which led to cancellations of flights, affected inbound travelers to Botswana.
Wilderness Safaris has been affected since there has been some cancellations, said Payne.
Wilderness Safaris operates 70 destinations in seven countries with a business model that was grown in Botswana before being copied into other countries.
In Botswana, the company has operations in Chobe, Linyanti area and Okavango Delta and presently it is giving the Central Kalahari Game Reserve a lot of attention following the opening of Kalahari Plains operations.