Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Toyota Kalahari 1000 desert race tops in enhancing Botswana’s economy

The minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila, told Parliament that some major sporting events are helping the country’s economy.

Mokaila singled out three major sporting events, with Toyota Kalahari 1000 desert race boasting of a considerable edge.

Although eliciting a sense of joy and excitement, sporting events have been viewed with suspicion, with critics doubting their economic benefit to the country.

Answering a question in Parliament on Thursday, Mokaila cleared the air, painting a good picture of the three sporting events, the Toyota Kalahari 1000 Desert Race, Subaru Cycle Challenge and Marathons, as benefitting the economy of Botswana.

“In the context of the sporting events that my ministry is involved in, Toyota Kalahari 1000 Desert Race, Subaru Cycle Challenge and the marathons are seemingly the top three,” Mokaila told Parliament. “For example, the Toyota Kalahari 1000 Desert Race alone contributed into the domestic economy in 2010.”

With some other sports codes seemingly lagging behind, Mokaila has engaged the services of the Botswana Tourism Board to continue pursuing strategies aimed at the promotion of sports tourism.

“Such strategies are primarily aligned to technical partnerships where selective events are undertaken, following analyses on their meaningful benefits to the economy and local communities as well as enhancing the image of the country,” he further said, adding that, however, his ministry was in the middle of the development of tourism satellite account, which, when fully developed, could be designed to look separately at the performance of sports in tourism.

Mokaila further indicated the 1990 Tourism policy was under review with sports included as one of the events that create tourism.

With the country lacking a baseline data, he would not give a precise measure of the direct economic contribution of sports to tourism, especially that the sports segment’s direct contribution to tourism revenue is currently not disaggregated to individual and separate analysis.

Mokaila was answering a question posed by Shoshong MP Phillip Makgalemele who was skeptical of the contribution brought about by sport tourism.

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