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World’s top tourism destinations

In 2016, four countries moved up in the Top 10 ranking by international tourism receipts and three in the ranking by international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors).

Most notably, Thailand climbed further, up to 3rd place from 5th in terms of tourism receipts in its second year of double-digit growth, hitting the US$ 50 billion mark in 2016. It also moved up one place in arrivals to 9th position (33 million), reports the UNWTO.
“When ranking the world’s top international tourism destinations, it is preferable to take more than a single indicator into account.

Ranked according to the two key tourism indicators international tourist arrivals and international tourism receipts – it is interesting to note that eight out of the Top 10 destinations appear on both lists, despite showing marked differences in terms of the type of tourists they attract, as well as their average length of stay and their spending per trip and per night. It should be noted that changes in the ranking of international tourism receipts not only reflect the relative performance of the destinations, but also exchange rate fluctuations of the local currencies against the US dollar,” explains the UNWTO in their 2017 tourism report.

According to the report, the United States continues to top the international tourism receipts ranking, with US$ 206 billion earned in 2016. It is the second largest destination in international tourist arrivals with 76 million. Spain follows as the world’s second largest earner with US$ 60 billion, and the third largest destination in terms of arrivals with 76 million, virtually equaling the US. China remains in fourth position in terms of both receipts (US$ 44 billion) and arrivals (59 million). France climbed one place to 5th position in tourism earnings, with US$ 42 billion, and remains the world’s top destination in terms of international arrivals with 83 million. Italy moved up one place to 6th position in receipts (US$ 40 billion) and is still 5th in arrivals (52 million).

The United Kingdom climbed two places to 6th position in arrivals, but moved down four places in receipts to 7th, partly due to the depreciation of the British pound, resulting in lower earnings in terms of US dollars. Germany remains 8th in terms of receipts and 7th in arrivals, while Hong Kong (China) continues to rank 9th in receipts and 13th in arrivals. Australia re-entered the Top 10 in terms of receipts at number 10, while moving from 42nd to 40th position in arrivals. Mexico climbed another place to 8th position in arrivals and moved up two in receipts to 14th. Turkey completes the Top 10 in arrivals, moving down an estimated four places (data still pending for 2016) following the security incidents and failed coup last year. In terms of receipts, Turkey moved down five places to 17th position.

China continues to lead global outbound travel, following ten years of double-digit growth in spending, and after rising to the top of the ranking in 2012. Expenditure by Chinese travellers grew by 12% in 2016 to reach US$ 261 billion. The number of outbound travellers rose by 6% to reach 135 million in 2016. Tourism expenditure from the United States, the world’s second largest source market, increased by 8% in 2016 to reach US$ 124 billion.

Germany, the United Kingdom and France are Europe’s top source markets, and rank third, fourth and fifth respectively in the world. Germany reported an increase of 3% in spending last year to reach US$ 80 billion. Demand from the United Kingdom remained sound last year, despite the significant depreciation of the British pound following the referendum on EU membership (Brexit). UK residents’ overnight visits abroad were up by 5 million (+8%) to reach 69 million, with expenditure close to US$ 64 billion (+14%). France reported a 3% growth in tourism expenditure in 2016 to reach US$ 40 billion.

The five source markets in the bottom half of the Top 10 all moved up one place as the Russian Federation moved down from 6th to 11th place, following a significant decline in spending abroad. Canada moved up to 6th place, despite flat growth in international spending (US$ 29 billion), while outbound overnight trips declined by 3% to 31 million. The Republic of Korea spent 5% more in 2016 (US$ 27 billion) and moved up further to 7th place, after having entered the Top 10 in 2015.

The number of outbound travellers increased by 16% to reach 22 million. Italy climbed to 8th place with US$ 25 billion in outbound tourism expenditure, up 2% from 2015, while reporting a 3% growth in overnight trips to 29 million. Australia moved up to 9th place with a 6% growth in spending to US$ 25 billion, and a 5% increase in outbound trips to 10 million. Hong Kong (China) completes the Top 10 with 5% growth in expenditure to US$ 24 billion and 92 million outbound trips (+3%). Other source markets outside the Top 10, which showed double-digit growth in expenditure last year were: Spain, India, Argentina, Qatar, Thailand, Israel, Ireland, Ukraine, Vietnam and Egypt.

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Botswana records first trade surplus since January

7th October 2021

Botswana has recorded its first trade surplus for 2021 since the only one for the year in January.

The country’s exports for the month of July surpassed the value of imports, Statistics Botswana’s July International Merchandise Trade data reveals.

Released last Friday, the monthly trade digest reports a positive jump in the trade balance graph against the backdrop of a series of trade deficits in the preceding months since January this year.

According to the country’s significant data body, imports for the month were valued at P7.232 billion, reflecting a decline of 6.6 percent from the revised June 2021 value of P7.739 billion.

Total exports during the same month amounted to P7.605 billion, showing an increase of 6.1 percent over the revised June 2021 value of P7.170 billion.

A trade surplus of P373.2 million was recorded in July 2021. This follows a revised trade deficit of P568.7 million for June 2021.

For the total exports value of P7.605 billion, the Diamonds group accounted for 91.2 percent (P6.936 billion), followed by Machinery & Electrical Equipment and Salt & Soda Ash with 2.2 percent (P169.7 million) and 1.3 percent (P100.9 million) respectively.

Asia was the leading destination for Botswana exports, receiving 65.2 percent (P4.96 billion) of total exports during July 2021.

These exports mostly went to the UAE and India, having received 26.3 percent (P1. 99 billion) and 18.7 percent (P1.422 billion) of total exports, respectively. The top most exported commodity to the regional block was Diamonds.

Exports destined to the European Union amounted to P1.64 billion, accounting for 21.6 percent of total exports.

Belgium received almost all exports destined to the regional union, acquiring 21.5 percent (P1.6337 billion) of total exports during the reporting period.

The Diamonds group was the leading commodity group exported to the EU. The SACU region received exports valued at P790.7 million, representing 10.4 percent of total exports.

Diamonds and Salt & Soda Ash commodity groups accounted for 37.8 percent (P298.6 million) and 6.2 percent (P48.7 million) of total exports to the customs union.

South Africa received 9.8 percent (P745.0 million) of total exports during the month under review. The Diamonds group contributed 39.9 percent (P297.4 million) to all goods destined for the country.


In terms of imports, the SACU region contributed 62.7 percent (P4.534 billion) to total imports during July.

The topmost imported commodity groups from the SACU region were Fuel; Food, Beverages & Tobacco, and Machinery & Electrical Equipment with contributions of 33.3 percent (P1.510 billion), 17.4 percent (P789.4 million) and 12.7 percent (P576.7 million) to total imports from the region, respectively.

South Africa contributed 60.1 percent (P4.3497 billion) to total imports during July 2021.

Fuel accounted for 32.1 percent (P1.394 billion) of imports from that country. Food, Beverages & Tobacco contributed 17.7 percent (P772.0 million) to imports from South Africa.

Namibia contributed 2.0 percent (P141.1 million) to the overall imports during the period under review. Fuel was the main commodity imported from that country at 82.1 percent (P115.8 million).

During the months, imports representing 63.5 percent (P4.5904 billion) were transported into the country by Road.

Transportation of imports by Rail and Air accounted for 22.7 percent (P1.645 billion) and 13.8 percent (P996.2 million), respectively.

During the month, goods exported by Air amounted to P6, 999.2 million, accounting for 92.0 percent of total exports, while those leaving the country by Road were valued at P594.2 million (7.8 percent).

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The 2021/2022 Stanford Seed Transformation Program Begins

7th October 2021

Founders from twenty companies have been accepted into the program from Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa

The 4th Cohort of the Stanford Seed Transformation Program – Southern Africa (STP), a collaboration between Stanford Graduate School of Business and De Beers Group commenced classes on 20 September 2021. According to Otsile Mabeo, Vice President Corporate Affairs, De Beers Global Sightholder Sales: “We are excited to confirm that 20 companies have been accepted into the 4th Seed Transformation Programme from Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. The STP is an important part of the De Beers Group Building Forever sustainability strategy and demonstrates our commitment to the ‘Partnering for Thriving Communities’ pillar that aims at enhancing enterprise development in countries where we operate in the Southern African region”. Jeffrey Prickett, Global Director of Stanford Seed: “Business owners and their key management team members undertake a 12-month intensive leadership program that includes sessions on strategy and finance, business ethics, and design thinking, all taught by world-renowned Stanford faculty and local business practitioners. The program is exclusively for business owners and teams of for-profit companies or for-profit social enterprises with annual company revenues of US$300,000 – US$15million.” The programme will be delivered fully virtually to comply with COVID 19 protocols. Out of the 20 companies, 6 are from Botswana, 1 Namibia, and 13 South Africa. Since the partnership’s inception, De Beers Group and Stanford Seed have supported 74 companies, 89 founders/CEOs, and approximately 750 senior-level managers to undertake the program in Southern Africa.

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Minergy overcomes challenges – improves revenue and produces record breaking coal sales to date

7th October 2021

Minergy, the coal mining and trading company with the Masama coal mine, this week released results for the year ended 30 June 2021. The company achieved revenue of P193 million (2020: P81 million) with significant improvement in sales volumes surpassing 415 000 tonnes sold for the year.

The performance was divided into two distinct periods with very different operating environments. The first eight-month period (July 2020 – February 2021), was negatively impacted by delayed funding, COVID-19 impacts and excessive rain; and the last four-month period (March – June 2021), was a more stable production environment moving toward nameplate capacity.

According to Minergy CEO, Morné du Plessis, production and sales initially recovered in July and August 2020 with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and recoveries were further bolstered by the successful launch of the rail siding. Delays experienced in concluding the funding contributed to contractors limiting operations to manage arrears.

“However, the heavy rains we experienced from December 2020 through February 2021 flooded the mine pit making access difficult and impacting both production and sales. Fortunately, the rain subsided in March 2021, and we entered a more stable environment, with a positive impact on operations. Good recoveries in production and sales were experienced during the last four-month period of the year, with the mine moving closer toward a breakeven position.”

“Despite these operational constraints, including the effects of COVID-19 on logistics and manning of shifts, we expect to reach consistent nameplate capacity in the 2022 financial year,” du Plessis added.


In addition to the revenue reported above, the company incurred costs of sales of P256 million (2020: P150 million) with operating costs of P23 million (2020: P31 million). This effectively resulted in an operating loss of P86 million (2020: P100 million). Finance costs of P51 million (2020: P17 million) were incurred, bringing the net loss before taxation to P136 million (2020: P117 million).

Du Plessis explains that the adverse conditions in the first eight-month period contributed to 86% of the gross loss, while the more stable four-month period alone contributed to 50% of total sales value, helping to decrease monthly gross losses, albeit below breakeven levels.

The company benefited from a strengthening in the South African Rand (“ZAR”) supporting higher back-on- mine sales prices.

“As announced, we’re pleased to have secured P125 million of additional convertible debt funding through the Minerals Development Company Botswana (Proprietary) Limited (“MDCB”). Minergy remains grateful for this support.”

He added that the first tranche of additional funding provided by the MDCB had been received in December 2020, which allowed Minergy to settle the majority of the contractor’s arrears and allowed their teams to be remobilised. The second and final tranche was paid post the financial year-end and will allow the business to reach nameplate capacity in the new financial year.”


Sales volumes increased by 110%, supported by increased sales in Botswana and internationally in South Africa and Namibia. Sales for June 2021 exceeded 56 000 tonnes, a record since the inception of the mine, with pricing increasing late in the financial year on the back of buoyant international prices and a strengthening ZAR.

Minergy also concluded a further 12-month off-take agreement to the existing off-take agreement, with a further agreement finalised post year end.

Overburden moved during the reporting period increased by 86% and extracted coal by 50%. Coal mined in June 2021 alone exceeded 100 000 tonnes. “This is a good performance considering the challenges faced such as sacrificing pre-stripping activities for a period to manage arrears, excessive rain and COVID-19,” du Plessis indicated.

“The wash plant was initially starved of coal due to the factors noted already. Despite this, overall plant throughput performance was 37% higher than 2020. Consistent output was supported by the completion of the Stage 2 rigid crushing section as well as the water saving dewatering screen with filter press contributing to a reduction in water usage of 60% per tonne of coal. A record throughput of more than 84 000 tonnes was achieved in March 2021 and this consistency has been maintained.”


According to du Plessis, the completion of Stage 4 of the Processing Plant, the rigid screening and stock handling section, remains a key optimisation step, which has associated benefits. “The completion was unfortunately delayed by a southern African wide shortage of structural steel but was commissioned post year-end.”

Minergy expects the positive momentum in international coal pricing for southern African coal to remain in place. Higher coal prices have resulted in coal being withdrawn from the inland market in favour of lucrative international markets. Du Plessis added that the regional market is currently under- supplied with sized coal, which supports higher pricing and new customer opportunities for Minergy.

“Our objective for the 2022 financial year is to achieve nameplate capacity by completing final ramp-up of operations. This will enable the company to generate sufficient cash flow to stabilise the business at breakeven or better. The bullish coal market is also providing support. COVID-19 will still be closely managed, and we look forward to the lifting of the State of Emergency, as announced, and trust that vaccination programmes will achieve herd immunity in Botswana during the next 12 months.”

Du Plessis expressed his excitement on prospects stating that, “The Eskom due diligence process is continuing, and we are hopeful of receiving feedback during the current financial year. In addition to this opportunity, Minergy is also investigating participation in the request by the Government of Botswana to provide a 300MW power station for which the company has been shortlisted.”

The approved process to issue shares for cash is showing positive leads and he concluded by saying that a listing in London is still being investigated.

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