The University of Botswana recently launched a new department, that of Tourism and Hospitality Management, in the Faculty of Business.
The department hopes to address the prevailing human resource requirements to diversify the economy and further strive to transform the tourism sector to contribute to the economy.
The department is also an extension of what the Government of Botswana has put forward.
The government has already identified cultural and eco-tourism sectors as key drivers of sustainable development, but realizes that great human resources capacity may further develop the tourism sector.
The Head of the Department in the Faculty of Business, Dr Haretsebe Manwa, noted that the department has always been there under the Department of Management and what they have done is to fully establish it on its own.
“We found out that the department touches many areas, like the environment, so we felt that, for the department to grow, it has to stand on its own,” Manwa said.
She also stated that there are already students studying in the department.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Professor Frank Youngman, pointed out that the separation of this from the Department of Management is an indication of the increasing significance of tourism in the economic development of the country and a response to efforts made by the Botswana Tourism Board to promote the sector.
“The successful and sustainable development of the industry requires expertise and knowledge and these can be generated by UB through this department,” said Youngman.
He further stated that the introduction of this department is in line with the university’s strategic plan for NDP 10, ‘A Strategy for Excellence’ and, in particular, the strategic priorities to provide relevant and high quality programmes, intensify research performance and to strengthen engagement.
Manwa further said that the department is in its infancy and they are still consulting and consolidating with key players and stakeholders to have them on their advisory board.
“So far, we have a lot of part-time lecturers from the tourism industry to help make our programmes more relevant,” she said. “However, though in its infancy, it has already established national and international relationships. The current degree programme, the BBA Tourism and Hospitality Management, will also be revised to ensure that it meets the human resources needs of the country and the region.”
She also pointed out that the department’s research programme will provide evidence-based support for policy development and improved professional practice.
Aspiring tourism and hospitality students will now be able to apply directly to the department.