The minister responsible for Youth Sports and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng has admitted that the country’s youth are left out when it comes to acquiring land in hot spot tourism areas such as Okavango, Chobe, Makgadikgadi and Central Kalahari Game reserve.
Olopeng is of the view that land allocated to companies only benefits existing companies with financial muscles while youth who aspires to run such business are left out.
‘ I have been engaging with the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama to find out better ways in empowering the youth,” said Olopeng.
He further pointed out that concession areas that are allocated to tourism business deter youth to go into business due to stringent requirements.
The foreign dominated owned tourism business in most of hot spot tourism areas has prompted the minister to speed up on opening avenues for youth to run tourism business.
‘I had a very good discussion with Minister Khama concerning youth reservations from his ministry. I am happy that he has considered the following, to reserve 30 – 40% of campsites for the Youth,
to reserve a certain percentage of wildlife filming permits for the Youth. All young people who are interested in tourism please get ready. I don’t want you to miss these opportunities, ‘stated Olopeng in boastful manner.
Olopeng is convinced that the government will come up with ways that will see most of youth going into tourism. He has not given me a deaf ear since he knows the challenges that have kept out youth from going into the industry.
The Minister indicated that land should be availed to youth to start up camp sites and other tourism related business which does not require hefty finances to start. He is of the view that once the youth are empowered to start with small tourism business they will be able to grow their business and raise enough funds where they can now invest into big tourism ventures.
He indicated that they are yet to announce a move going forward on how they will take youth onboard since he has met Khama for several times.
The minister also went further to boost that he has since made in-roads in making sure that youth are given a chance to venture into tourism.
Meanwhile Khama also believes that Batswana should be given an opportunity to operate business in hot spot tourism areas such as Okavango Delta. He said that due to foreign dominated business in the delta Batswana are unable to go to the delta during the holidays due to high prices of tourism packages offered to international tourists.
Khama remain optimistic that Batswana will have an opportunity to own some tourism ventures in Okavango delta which dominantly owned by foreign nationals. Khama stated they will avoid a situation where Batswana are left without benefiting from their resources as it has happened with diamonds.