Govt to unlock more tourism opportunities

Kabelo Dipholo

Lobbying airlines to fly directly to Botswana

The government of Botswana plans to unlock more tourism opportunities for SMMEs through events such as the ongoing Botswana Travel and Tourism Expo (BTTE).

Speaking at the Local Operator workshop in Kasane this afternoon, Minister of Environment and Tourism, Phildah Kereng, said gatherings like the BTTE are vital for generating ideas particularly this time when government is implementing recovery strategies.

She said it is always important given the sector’s broad value chain that whenever such events are staged, they bring on board relevant stakeholders to deliberate on issues affecting the industry for recourse and, most importantly, formation of strong ties from which we shall tap on the synergic benefits to grow the industry.

“I therefore urge you to deliberate on these issues in earnest and with strategic focus to formulate actionable recommendations that will drive the development of business, including SMMEs across the tourism value chain to create more value and opportunities for citizen participation and empowerment,” said Kereng.

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The minister further said she’s fully aware of how limited air connectivity is affecting tourism recovery.

She, however, said her government will continue lobbying airlines to fly directly from Botswana and tapping into the regional market for business sustenance.

“I see a future in which our tourism operators are leading innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs and this is supported by the reset agenda and the new policy which emphasises result-oriented product development, marketing, digitalisation and the enhancement of the country’s MICE initiatives,” she said.

The minister also noted that there was a deliberate effort to capitalise on the marketing platform presented by BTTE to give the SMMEs opportunity to expand their trade networks.

She said it is their hope to see this initiative continue in future at other tourism and related events, including those run fully by the private sector, in their endeavour to ride on available marketing opportunities in the sector to establish strong trade networks between SMMEs and large-scale operators.

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“Export-oriented economic sectors such as tourism are critical in facilitating global market reach among SMMEs in the tourism value chain,” Kereng said.

Through this initiative, Kereng said, the ministry aspires to unlock opportunities in the tourism value chain and grow export products.

“We believe regularisation of SMMEs would help provide opportunities for capacity building; improved business management as well as access to finance, information, and markets to grow them into large-scale market players and contributors of tax revenues to the national treasuries,” concluded Minister Kereng.

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