Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC) Representative, Letsogile Batsetswe says that tourism has successfully diversified the economy from traditional sources such as diamonds and beef and has created jobs, especially to the low-income earners.
Addressing delegates at the recently ended Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) conference in Kasane on the topic, “ Botswana tourism growth analysis and international competitiveness, Batsetswe noted that according to the 2017 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report compiled under the theme ‘Paving the way for a more sustainable and inclusive growth,’ International tourist arrivals stood at 2 789 000 in 2016 while the total contribution to employment was 75 500 jobs in 2015.
The employment figure was expected to rise to 97 000 by 2026, he noted.
Different speakers at the annual (HATAB) conference, which was held at the Cresta Mowana Safari resort and Spa in Kasane under the theme, ‘The Role of the Tourism sector in expanding economic opportunity in Botswana,” emphasized the need for the tourist’s experience to be exceptional for them to be willing to re-visit and recommend others to a destination.
Cape Town Tourism Executive, Thembekile Kunene-Msimang noted that one of the most important factors for service providers in the tourism industry is the customer’s experience.
“Everyone has a key role to play in ensuring a pleasant experience for the tourist from a security officer at the airport, a taxi/shuttle driver, staff behind the check-in counter down to the housekeeping staff because they have direct contact with the visitor,” says Kunene-Msimang.
The tourism official also shed light on media reports that might seem harmless but could ultimately cast the difference between someone choosing one destination over another.
“Botswana’s tourism chain can only be as strong as its weakest link,” she advised.