Thabo Dithebe has finally ticked all the boxes as he was named substantive Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) this past week. Dithebe’s appointment as the top man at BTO came after he served a full year as acting CEO following the departure of the parastatal’s founding CEO, Myra Sekgororoane.
Tshekedi Khama, Minister for Environment, Wildlife and Tourism on Friday confirmed Dithebe’s appointment, adding that he did well during his term as acting CEO. Khama explained that by appointing a candidate of Dithebe’s calibre, he was cementing his mission of promoting local talent and identifying a leader who has an excellent vision of the tourism industry.
“We had to pause at some point in the process to finding a substantive BTO CEO, in order for the new board to realign the structure and direction of the organisation,” said Khama.
Khama added that he was impressed with the way Dithebe has been fully applying himself and using his tourism industry experience, right attitude and passion to direct the new vision of BTO.
“Our main focus is growing domestic tourism and moving away from dependence on diamonds revenue”.
As the substantive BTO CEO, Dithebe will be expected to take the lead on all strategic issues and manage the entire operations of the organisation to ensure that it achieves its mandate. His other focus areas are tourism marketing and development, developing new tourism products as well as project development. The CEO will also drive execution of the BTO mandate and strategically lead, plan and implement tourism strategic objectives in consultation with the board.
“The focus is on investment growth and land use management, policy development as well as environmental and service quality management,” said Khama.
As a parastatal, BTO is tasked with planning, developing and implementing tourism marketing and promotion strategies for Botswana. Before he was appointed acting CEO, Dithebe served as BTO Director-Projects and Business Operations. He will report to the BTO board of directors which is temporarily chaired by Lawrence Khupe and comprises of among others, Thabo Thamane, Cherri Briggs, Jonathan Gibson, Neil Fit and Thilo Naicker.
“Of great importance within his role is building and maintaining a positive and impressive image of our country’s tourism strategy that falls within BTO’s mandate,” Khama stated.
BTO has been running vacancy adverts in the local media inviting candidates to apply to be shortlisted for the job. The BTO top post became vacant in December 2013 after the departure of founding CEO Sekgororoane, a tourism industry veteran who rebranded the then Botswana Tourism Board (BTB). Sekgororoane served the organisation for eight years. When she departed at the end of 2013, Sekgororoane expressed confidence in the BTO executive management, saying some of them had acted as CEO during her absence and handled the organisation very well.