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Baitshepi Sekgweng
GROWING ATTRACTION: Horse racing at Khawa

Changing the tourism narrative

Famous the world over as a popular holiday destination due to its abundant wildlife and unique wilderness, the country’s local tourism scene is hunting new ways to attract visitors to Botswana.

In a bid to expand the Pula-producing sector, other avenues to be explored include: both agro and eco tourism, gastronomy (local cuisine) as well as cultural and heritage tourism.

According to the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), Keitumetse Setlang, opportunities in areas such as agro tourism, dams, desert-based tourism, and gastronomy tourism have already been identified.

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BTO CEO: Keitumetse Setlang

“Sustainable tourism in Botswana and in the world means beneficiation by the people and communities. Government has set up policies to ensure that there is value chain beneficiation and it is further looking at ways through which the entire value chain may benefit from tourism,” explained Setlang.

Highlighting some of the developments in dam tourism, which are at an advanced stage, Setlang mentioned four sub leases for tourism sites at the Gaborone Dam and three at Shashe Dam. A further 18 sites are still under tendering process for Letsibogo ,Thune and Shashe Dams, and are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024.

Cultural Tourism is also making pleasing strides, with the Khawa Dune Challenge peddled as a perfect example. Last year’s festival accrued revenue amounting to P12.5 million to businesses across retail and fuel sectors, while employment increased from 1, 203 to 1, 507 with the host community benefiting from short term employment during the period.

Similarly, Hospitality and Tourism Association Botswana (HATAB) CEO, Lily Rakorong said major milestones in promoting local tourism have been reached.

“The world is rapidly changing and the importance of collaborations and knowledge sharing cannot be overlooked. Therefore a platform like this provides an opportunity for operators to come together, exchange ideas and explore avenues for growth and development. The knowledge gained from the workshop will not only benefit individual enterprises but will also contribute to the overall advancement of the tourism sector in Botswana,” said Rakorong, speaking at the just-ended Botswana Travel and Tourism Expo in Kasane.

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