The development and sustainability of the tourism sector is hinged on getting commensurate funding from government as well as support from the private sector.
Unlike other economic sectors generating short and medium-term gains, tourism, when sustainably planned and managed, has proven to stimulate economies over the long-term.
Addressing the media, the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), Thabo Brian Dithebe said there are huge prospects for the tourism sector whose development are dependent on the private sector and government willingness to cooperate.
“As an organization we have dreams but if the two key stakeholders don’t come on board it will forever remain a dream,” said Dithebe.
Botswana has already adopted a strong position on Tourism and the industry is the second-contributing industry after Diamonds.
The sector has been identified as an engine of growth and an industry with potential to contribute to economic diversification that will help to broaden our economic base. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report on the economic impact of tourism in Botswana in 2014 also shows that the direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was P5, 486.6 million which was 3.2 percent of the total GDP.
The new CEO who has been part of the organization at executive management level for the past six years has vowed to develop the tourism industry in Botswana to the desired levels.
Dithebe said there are great opportunities that the country seeks to leverage on such as cultural tourism, event and sports tourism, dams tourism and even city beautifying to attract tourists.
“These are areas which are currently in their early stages of development in Botswana and they promise great returns for the country,” he said.
Dithebe highlighted that BTO is currently exploring implementing non-consumptive tourism products, which will not only promote Botswana as more than a country that hosts the Big Five and beautiful flora-fauna, but as a country that has rich culture, noteworthy events that can promote not only international visits to Botswana but domestic and regional tourism as well.
He stated that he will pursue further the drive to increase investment in community-based projects that will encourage the development and commercialization of areas, which are endowed with natural resources.
“Community projects, can stimulate growth in the tourism industry,” he said.
He also touched on the issue of City beautifying saying there is need to develop the cities dealing with softer issues like proper public transport.
He highlighted that Botswana has not done well in hosting international meetings, conferences and events.
Need for Kasane and Maun facelift
Dithebe underscored the need for Kasane redevelopment to become a tourism node.
“It is our wish that the private sector come into play and establish craft markets, bed and breakfast, offices that have to do with tourism, apartments and even sporting complexes,” he said.
Dithebe added that the Maun town has not received the attention it deserves. “There are no conservative activities in the Town that can attract tourists,” he said.
The new CEO said the Maun educational park is underutilized highlighting the need for an upmakert café/ restaurant, cultural heritage complex, an exclusive eco lodge, 5 star hotels and even a nature based Adventure Park.
“If the private sector and government can implement these Kasane and Maun can become attractive to the tourists,” he added.
Dithebe highlighted the need for a Diamond Pavilion and Tourism Precinct in Gaborone. “We need to come up with a diamond museum in Botswana that is intended to attract diamond traders to spend time in Botswana,” he said.
He said the tourism sector continues to face challenges of fragmented and inconsistent efforts in branding and promoting Botswana, frequency of flights as well preparedness of emergency evacuations.
Botswana is still unable to retain up to 90 percent of revenue generated by the local tourism. According to statistics from Botswana Tourism, only 10 percent of the domestic tourism revenue is retained locally whilst the rest is claimed by foreign countries.
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.
The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.
In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.
Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.
China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.
Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.
On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.
According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.
The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.
Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.
According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.
The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.
Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.
Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.
Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana. The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.