The 24 year old adrenaline filled excitement of the local Toyota 1000 Desert Race has moulded Botswana into a vibrant and adventurous winter destination. It has for a long time become a calendar event for both petrol heads and fun lovers alike. Not even the freezing winter temperatures have been a deterrent enough. With a Safety Campaign scheduled for the weekend before the weekend (Saturday, June 20), the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) looks to make the desert race experience even more comfortable for the fans.
They want to send a strong message that the event is about more than just the race itself. The family fun day event at Molapo Piazza will among other things, equip race fans with necessary skills to beat all obstacles out there come race weekend, kicking off on Friday June 26. “We want people to come and learn the best ways to prepare for an outdoor event,” BTO’s Communication Manager, Keitumetse Setlang told Lifestyle. “We want to teach people how to insulate themselves against the cold temperatures and also prepare them for the entire weekend experience.”
The day will also feature performances from Dj Fresh, Zeus, Vee Mampeezy, Brando, Ntirelang Berman, and Shumba Ratshega among others. Setlang said the idea is also to use the Safety Campaign to promote responsible behaviour which she said will play a crucial role in projecting a positive image for Botswana. “It is important that we improve the way we carry ourselves at the race,” she said. “Responsible drinking of alcohol, keeping the recommended distance from the race track, obeying traffic regulations, and not taking away what doesn’t belong to us, will send a positive message to our visitors from outside the country.
We will be hosting the world and whatever happens out there is a reflection of who we are as a society.” Over the years the 1000 Toyota Desert Race has contributed significantly not only to the country’s tourism but also, specifically, the small communities along the route and the 2015 event will by no means be an anomaly. “We always ensure we leave a mark on every community playing host to campsites throughout the race,” Setlang said.
The Communications Manager said all profits from the desert race will go to the ward development committees in Jwaneng, the host town. She said there are also stalls erected at various villages hosting spectator points the benefits of which accrue to the host communities. Even the post event clean-up jobs are given to the locals, she said in an interview. “It may not be much but it makes a difference for those individuals,” she said.
Setlang said an economic study BTO commissioned following the 2014 event shows the combined business communities involved in the desert race make four times the amount they make on a regular weekend. “It’s what we are paid to do,” she said. Setlang said every year BTO looks forward to exploring many ways through which the tourism industry can benefit from the desert race. As part of promoting this year’s desert race Setlang said BTO would hold activations this weekend in Mafikeng (SA), Jwaneng, Francistown, Maun, Ghanzi, Palapye, and other areas. There will be an entrance fee charged for the Toyota 100 Desert Race Charity Campaign to be held at Molapo Piazza next Saturday.