Botswana‘s Tourism sector grew by 3.4 percent in the year 2018, this is according to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC). The global organization came to this conclusion in their annual review of the economic impact and social importance of the tourism sector. The findings of the study that compared the sector across 185 countries were this week
WTTC study suggests that Botswana’s Travel and Tourism sector grew by 3.4 percent which is above the Sub-Saharan African average of 3.3 percent; and it contributed US$2.52 billion (a bout P27 billion) to the country’s economy. This mirrors 13.4 percent of all economic impact in the country, and nearly one in every seven dollars in the economy.
Furthermore during the year 2018 Botswana’s tourism sector supported 84 000 jobs which is 8.9 percent of the county’s total employment. The WTTC says this was primarily driven by leisure travelers, with 96 percent of the travel and tourism spending in the economy that was generated by leisure visitors and just four percent from business travelers; weighing towards international travel which amount to 73 percent of spending which came from international travelers and 27 percent from domestic travel.
“Botswana is a jewel in the crown of Sub-Saharan Africa’s travel and tourism sector. It is home to some of the most iconic tourism sites in Africa, such as the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve,” said WTTC President and Chief Executive Officer, Gloria Guevara.
The tourism industry continues to be one of Botswana cardinal economic sectors , literally the second anchor’s of the Botswana’s fiscals, contributing significantly to government revenue , creating a whole value chain of Small medium enterprises and supporting other macro businesses that account for significant shares in Botswana ‘s economic setup . The sector is the second foreign income earner after the lucrative Mining sector particularly the diamond industry.
The World Tourism & Travel Council (WTTC) projected that direct contribution to the country’s GDP will grow by 5.8 percent in 2018. In 2017 The direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to Botswana‘s Gross Domestic Product was BWP7, 129.6 million. The sector‘s total contribution to the GDP was BWP21, 496.5 million (USD2, 072.9mn) accounting for 11.5 percent of GDP with projected rise of 4.5 percent pa to BWP34, 874.2 million 11.7 percent of GDP by 2028.
The Tourism sector is one of the world’s largest economic sectors, creating jobs, driving exports, and generating prosperity across the world. The annual analysis of the WTTC on global economic impact of Travel & Tourism reveals that in 2018 the sector accounted for over 10 percent of global GDP and over 300 million jobs that is 9.9 percent of total employment. The Tourism Satellite Account compiled by United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) published last year that in 2016 alone Botswana’s Tourism sector realised 1.9 million visits which generated over P14 billion worth of business.
In the wake of uncertainties surrounding finite resources that natural diamonds are, forecasted introduction of robotic labour in mining undertakings as well as synthetic diamonds Botswana government has identified the Tourism industry as the next “big thing”. This has been revealed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi in many of his media briefings late last year .Currently Botswana‘s Tourism sector is heavily dependent on wildlife and natural environments as key tourists attraction features and money spinning apparatus.
However President Masisi says to further grow the tourism sector government is moving at speed to create and support new products within the tourism sector in a bid to not just diversify the economy but create more jobs for its citizenry. “We have identified diversification of tourism products, full utilization of wildlife, and leisure and entertainment industry as key sectors to unpack and unleash our economy to its potential” said Masisi when addressing members of the Media late last year.
The President also underscored that if Botswana‘s tourism products are diversified with much more value Batswana will be wooed to visit their own country rather than flying outside for holidays and leisure excursions. Currently Batswana are of the view that visiting Durban and for example Mauritius as a holiday destination is much better as the latter has much more to offer as there are side refreshing and amusing organized events other than just natural features and wildlife”
When commenting on WTTC report Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) Chief Executive Officer Myra Sekgororoane said Botswana has long grasped the potential of Travel and Tourism to drive economic growth, create jobs and promote social development. “I am delighted to see that Botswana recorded another year of growth ahead of the regional average, reflecting the excellent work from our part”
WTTC experts observe that the power of resilience in Travel and Tourism will be much needed for the many established Travel and Tourism destinations that were severely impacted by natural disasters in 2017. “While our data shows the extent of these impacts and rates of recovery over the decade ahead, beyond just numbers, WTTC and its Members are working hard to support local communities as they rebuild and recover,” reads the review.
WTTC notes that inclusive growth and ensuring a future with quality jobs remains a concern for governments everywhere. Travel and Tourism, which already supports one in every ten jobs on the planet, is a dynamic engine of employment opportunity. Over the past ten years, one in five of all jobs created across the world have been in the sector and, with the right regulatory conditions and government support, nearly 100 million new jobs could be created over the decade ahead.
Experts note that over the longer term, forecast growth of the Travel and Tourism sector will continue to be robust as millions more people are moved to travel to see the wonders of the world. Strong growth also requires strong management, and WTTC pledges to continue to take a leadership role with destinations to ensure that they are planning effectively and strategically for growth, accounting for the needs of all stakeholders and using the most advanced technologies in the process.
This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.
“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.
Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.
A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.
Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.
In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.
The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.
In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.
Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.
The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”
In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.
Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.
The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.