Masisi commits to prop up tourism

Daniel Chida

In an effort to revitalise and diversify the tourism sector, government is redeveloping the Kasane/Kazungula area.

When delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) today, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said that government has been promoting tourism amidst the pandemic, through virtual platforms and engagements.

“These include, Virtual Botswana Travel and Tourism Expo in December 2020; the Virtual International Tourism Bourse in March 2021; and Botswana Live Virtual Tours campaign, launched in August 2021.”

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Masisi said that these platforms have been instrumental in stimulating the recovery of the tourism sector at both local and international levels

He said that a total of five thousand, four hundred and thirty-two (5 432) companies received funding amounting to P139 786 942, under the COVID-19 wage subsidy.

He explained that the subsidy covered salaries and company operations.

“A further P200 million from the Tourism Industry Support Fund was disbursed by the National Development Bank in the form of loans. As a result of these interventions, Government saved over one thousand (1000) jobs in the industry.”

He said that Community Trusts, which enhance the livelihoods of some communities continue to be supported.

“Through Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), a total of P11 748 000 was paid to freelance guides, freelance chefs and Mokoro Polers and additional jobs were created over a period of nine months.”

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Masisi added that in April 2021, Parliament approved the Revised Tourism Policy, which will enhance citizen participation in prime tourism areas such as, the Okavango Delta and National Parks around the country.

He said that the policy will also facilitate plugging financial leakages within the tourism sector and promote development and exploitation of value chains. “In order to operationalize the policy, government is developing a National Tourism Strategy and Master Plan, which will be completed in July 2022. With the view to promote domestic tourism and increase meaningful citizen and local community participation in the growth and development of the sector, Parliament adopted a new Tourism Policy in 2021.”

The President also mentioned that opportunities for citizens will be opened up in the Okavango Delta and the Chobe National Park.

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