The World Tourism & Travel Council (WTTC) has projected that the tourism industry’s direct contribution to the country’s GDP will grow by 5.8 % in 2018. WTTC’s Annual Research report indicated that the direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to Botswana‘s Gross Domestic Product was BWP7, 129.6 million in 2017.
The tourism industry is one of Botswana cardinal economic sectors, contributes significantly to government revenue, creating a whole value chain of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and supporting other macro businesses that account for significant shares in Botswana’s economic setup. Tourism is the second foreign income earner after the lucrative Mining sector, particularly the diamond industry.
The WTTC further reveals that the sector’s total contribution to the GDP was BWP21, 496.5 million (USD2, 072.9mn) in 2017 accounting for 11.5% of GDP further suggesting a rise of 4.9% in 2018, and a rise of 4.5% pa to BWP34, 874.2 million, 11.7% of GDP in 2028. According to the report , in 2017 Botswana’s Travel & Tourism industry directly supported 26,000 jobs which equates to 2.6% of the country‘s total employment, forecasting that in 2018 the sector share on Botswana’s employment will go up by 4.3% and continue to grow by 4.5% pa to 42,000 jobs in 2028.
The 2028 projection suggests that the sector will support 3.4 % of Botswana‘s total employment then. In 2017 visitors that graced Botswana’s attractive places generated BWP7, 119.6 million accounting for 7.4% of the country’s total exports. The WWTC further projects that the visitor’s export will realize an increase of 5.7 % in 2018 and grow by 4.6% pa, from 2018-2028, to BWP11, 791.1 million. In 2017 the industry investment stood at BWP4, 596.8 million which was 8.3% of total investment. “It should rise by 3.3% in 2018, and rise by 4.5% pa over the next ten years to BWP7, 357.2mn (USD709.5mn) in 2028, 8.6% of total,” states the Annual research report by the global tourism entity.
The organization observed that Tourism is one of the world’s largest economic sectors, creating jobs, driving exports, and generating prosperity across the world. The annual analysis of the organization on global economic impact of Travel & Tourism reveals that in 2017 the sector accounted for 10.4% of global GDP and 313 million jobs (9.9%) of total employment.
The WTTC has been providing outlook and analysis, quantifying the economic and employment impact of Travel & Tourism for the past 25 years. The Annual Economic Report covers 185 countries and 25 regions of the world, providing the necessary data on 2017 performance as well as unique 10-year forecasts on the sectors potential.
According to the Organization 2017 was one of the strongest years of GDP growth in a decade with robust consumer spending worldwide. “This global growth transferred again into Travel & Tourism with the sector’s direct growth of 4.6% outpacing the global economy for the seventh successive year. As in recent years, performance was particularly strong across Asia, but proving the sector’s resilience, 2017 also saw countries such as Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt that had previously been devastated by the impacts of terrorist activity, recover strongly.”
WTTC observed that the power of resilience in Travel & Tourism will be much needed for the many established Travel & 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.”
Inclusive growth and ensuring a future with quality jobs are the concerns of governments everywhere. Travel & 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 & Tourism sector will continue to be robust as millions more people are moved to travel to see the wonders of the world.
Marcian Concepts have been contracted by Selibe Phikwe Economic Unit (SPEDU) in a P230 million project to raise the town from its ghost status. The project is in the design and building phase of building an industrial hub for Phikwe; putting together an infrastructure in Bolelanoto and Senwelo industrial sites.
This project comes as a life-raft for Selibe Phikwe, a town which was turned into a ghost town when the area’s economic mainstay, BCL mine, closed four years ago. In that catastrophe, 5000 people lost their livelihoods as the town’s life sunk into a gloomy horizon. Businesses were closed and some migrated to better places as industrial places and malls became almost empty.
However, SPEDU has now started plans to breathe life into the town. Information reaching this publication is that Marcian Concepts is now on the ground at Bolelanoto and Senwelo and works have commenced. Marcian as a contractor already promises to hire Phikwe locals only, even subcontract only companies from the area as a way to empower the place’s economy.
The procurement method for the tender is Open Domestic bidding which means Joint Ventures with foreign companies is not allowed. According to Marcian Concepts General Manager, Andre Strydom, in an interview with this publication, the project will come with 150 to 200 jobs. The project is expected to take 15 months at a tune of P230 531 402. 76. Marcian will put together construction of roadworks, storm-water drains, water reticulation, street lighting and telecommunication infrastructure. This tender was flouted last year August, but was awarded in June this year. This project is seen as the beginning of Phikwe’s revival and investors will be targeted to the area after the town has worn the ghost city status for almost half a decade.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has slashed its outlook the world economy projecting a significantly deeper recession and slower recovery than it anticipated just two months ago.
On Wednesday when delivering its World Economic Outlook report titled “A long difficult Ascent” the Washington Based global lender said it now expects global gross domestic product to shrink 4.9% this year, more than the 3% predicted in April. For 2021, IMF experts have projected growth of 5.4%, down from 5.8%. “We are projecting a somewhat less severe though still deep recession in 2020, relative to our June forecast,” said Gita Gopinath Economic Counsellor and Director of Research.
The struggle of humanity is now how to dribble past the ‘Great Pandemic’ in order to salvage a lean economic score. Botswana is already working on dwindling fiscal accounts, budget deficit, threatened foreign reserves and the GDP data that is screaming recession.
Latest data by think tank and renowned rating agency, Moody’s Investor Service, is that Botswana’s fiscal status is on the red and it is mostly because of its mineral-dependency garment and tourism-related taxation. Botswana decided to close borders as one of the containment measures of Covid-19; trade and travellers have been locked out of the country. Moody’s also acknowledges that closing borders by countries like Botswana results in the collapse of tourism which will also indirectly weigh on revenue through lower import duties, VAT receipts and other taxes.
Latest economic data shows that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2020 with a decrease of 27 percent. One of the factors that led to contraction of the local economy is the suspension of air travel occasioned by COVID-19 containment measures impacted on the number of tourists entering through the country’s borders and hence affecting the output of the hotels and restaurants industry. This will also be weighed down by, according to Moody’s, emerging markets which will see government losing average revenue worth 2.1 percentage points (pps) of GDP in 2020, exceeding the 1.0 pps loss in advanced economies (AEs).
“Fiscal revenue in emerging markets is particularly vulnerable to this current crisis because of concentrated revenue structures and less sophisticated tax administrations than those in AEs. Oil exporters will see the largest falls but revenue volatility is a common feature of their credit profiles historically,” says Moody’s. The domino effects of containment measures could be seen cracking all sectors of the local economy as taxes from outside were locked out by the closure of borders hence dwindling tax revenue.
Moody’s has placed Botswana among oil importers, small, tourism-reliant economies which will see the largest fall in revenue. Botswana is in the top 10 of that pecking order where Moody’s pointed out recently that other resource-rich countries like Botswana (A2 negative) will also face a large drop in fiscal revenue.
This situation of countries’ revenue on the red is going to stay stubborn for a long run. Moody’s predicts that the spending pressures faced by governments across the globe are unlikely to ease in the short term, particularly because this crisis has emphasized the social role governments perform in areas like healthcare and labour markets.
For countries like Botswana, these spending pressures are generally exacerbated by a range of other factors like a higher interest burden, infrastructure deficiencies, weaker broader public sector, higher subsidies, lower incomes and more precarious employment. As a result, most of the burden for any fiscal consolidation is likely to fall on the revenue side, says Moody’s.
Moody’s then moves to the revenue spin of taxation. The rating agency looked at the likelihood and probability of sovereigns to raise up revenue by increasing tax to offset what was lost in mineral revenue and tourism-related tax revenue. Moody’s said the capacity to raise tax revenue distinguishes governments from other debt issuers. “In theory, governments can change a given tax system as they wish, subject to the relevant legislative process and within the constraints of international law. In practice, however, there are material constraints,” says Moody’s.
‘‘The coronavirus crisis will lead to long-lasting revenue losses for emerging market sovereigns because their ability to implement and enforce effective revenue-raising measures in response will be an important credit driver over the next few years because of their sizeable spending pressures and the subdued recovery in the global economy we expect next year.’’
According to Moody’s, together with a rise in stimulus and healthcare spending related to the crisis, the think tank expects this drop in revenue will trigger a sizeable fiscal deterioration across emerging market sovereigns. Most countries, including Botswana, are under pressure of widening their tax bases, Moody’s says that this will be challenging. “Even if governments reversed or do not extend tax-easing measures implemented in 2020 to support the economy through the coronavirus shock, which would be politically challenging, this would only provide a modest boost to revenue, especially as these measures were relatively modest in most emerging markets,” says Moody’s.
Botswana has been seen internationally as a ‘tax ease’ country and its taxes are seen as lower when compared to its regional counterparts. This country’s name has also been mentioned in various international investigative journalism tax evasion reports. In recent years there was a division of opinions over whether this country can stretch its tax base. But like other sovereigns who have tried but struggled to increase or even maintain their tax intake before the crisis, Botswana will face additional challenges, according to Moody’s.
“Additional measures to reduce tax evasion and cutting tax expenditure should support the recovery in government revenue, albeit from low levels,” advised Moody’s. Botswana’s tax revenue to the percentage of the GDP was 27 percent in 2008, dropped to 23 percent in 2010 to 23 percent before rising to 27 percent again in 2012. In years 2013 and 2014 the percentage went to 25 percent before it took a slip to decline in respective years of 2015 up to now where it is at 19.8 percent.