Following several consultations through the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), which were rolled out last year, there was a need to review the current administration of the Vocational Training Fund (BOTA) and Tourism Industry Training Fund (Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism) which, until recently, both currently sat with two completely different bodies.
Following the review, there has been an alteration made to align the training levies to the HRD Plan to ensure the effective and efficient usage of funds for the benefit of the sector. As a result, the Department of Tourism and Botswana Post entered into an agreement to facilitate payment of tourism training levy, license fees and penalties at all its post offices across the country. A report from the department of tourism reads that Botswana Post Office effected the collection in August 2014.
“The Department of Tourism has been providing the above mentioned services through District offices across the country. However, the district offices could not adequately service the entire tourism industry especially because the district offices are located at main centres and some are in the remotest areas, thus creating a gap in the demand and supply of tourist related services. Clients had to travel long distances to access the service in certain areas.” To drive this point home, a well detailed collaborative research work paper conducted by three international partners, the African Development Bank (AFDB), the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) indicates that this is partly because the bulk of Botswana’s tourist bookings are handled in South Africa.
Tourism is seen as an important sector in the economy of Botswana providing jobs, local incomes and making contributions to Government revenues. In recognition of this, the Government of Botswana decided to strengthen the process of collecting tourism statistics, and embarked upon measures to analyse the economic contribution of tourism with a view to underpinning a series of forthcoming strategies and policies for the development of tourism in the country.
Last year, statistics from Botswana Tourism indicated that only 10 percent of the domestic tourism revenue is retained locally whilst the rest is claimed by foreign countries.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report on the economic impact of tourism in Botswana in 2014 also indicated that the direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was P5, 486.6 million. It added that the investment should rise by 8.4 percent in 2014, and 4.5 percent per annum over the next ten years to P3, 111.6 million in 2024.