A German company engaged by Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) to help market Botswana’s tourism offering in Germany has expressed optimism that terror attacks that have been going on in Africa will not hamper tourist arrivals in the country.
Karin Zwiers, director of Interface International said in an interview ahead of the Botswana Travel and Tourism Expo 2015, billed for next week in Kasane that tourists worldwide continue to travel despite terrorism activities.
However, Zwiers did admit that the outbreak of Ebola in some parts of Africa last year impacted tourist arrivals in the country.
“The Ebola outbreak contributed to the decline of tourist arrivals in Botswana, as statistics show that tourist arrivals declined in the past two years,” she said.
BTO Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Thabo Dithebe also confirmed that the Ebola outbreak contributed to the decline in tourist arrivals and affected the national economy as tourism is the second largest contributor to GDP. He further said BTO has started targeting BRICS countries in its endeavour to grow the tourism industry.
“We intend to market Botswana tourism to BRICS countries like China,” he said.
However, Li Nan, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China has previously indicated that Botswana was losing out on an opportunity to cash in on more than 100 million Chinese nationals who travel overseas every year because of its strict VISA regulations. The Chinese Embassy indicated that Chinese tourists prefer other countries over Botswana when they travel because of the country’s strict VISA restrictions.
“China as part of BRICS is one of the countries that Botswana intends to maximise on in a bid to attract tourists. We are also targeting tourists from Brazil, South Africa and Russia in a bid to grow the tourism sector,” added Dithebe.
Commenting on the Botswana Travel and Tourism Expo 2015, Dithebe said the expo will offer local industry players opportunities to build business partnerships with other players from across the globe.
“We will offer global tour operators an opportunity to sample products offered by our local operators in a bid to convince them to lure international tourists into the country,” said Dithebe.
The expo has attracted travel and tourism companies from as far as the United Kingdom and United States of America.