Botswana: Minister Kereng on domestic tourism promotion drive

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Gaborone — Due to the anticipated slow recovery of the international tourism market, the local industry has been encouraged to tap into the domestic demand.

Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Ms Philda Kereng said this during a recent interview with BOPA.

“We are promoting domestic tourism, more so that international tourism recovery might take time,” she said.

Ms Kereng said the uncertain international tourism market called for more efforts to promote domestic tourism.

Therefore, she said, local operators needed to look into the domestic market.

In a separate interview, chief executive officer of Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB), Ms Lily Rakorong said the industry was taking advantage of domestic tourism despite challenges.

“Domestic tourism is now the main driver of tourism activities and it will help with the recovery of the sector,” she said.

Further, she said plans were being put in place to maximise on the potential of the domestic market.

Ms Rakorong said operators had embarked on marketing campaigns and the local tourism partners were working closely together to create packages relevant for the current times.

She noted that all sub sectors within the tourism industry, including the value chain, had been affected by COVID-19.

“HATAB members have been severely impacted by the pandemic and not only our members but the industry at large,” she stated.

The HATAB chief executive officer said that resulted in low occupancy rate when it came to accommodation, salary cuts among staff and no work no pay among others.

She said the organisation was therefore encouraging its members to do aggressive marketing locally.

Ms Rakorong said movement restrictions across zones, on and off lockdowns, limited number of people attending conferences and a liquor ban had severe impact on the tourism industry and could also lead to more job losses.

“Some operators have reported that they are not even getting five per cent of their usual performance in terms of revenue because of some of the restrictions that are still in place in order to control the disease,” she said.

Ms Rakorong said some HATAB members had been forced to suspend operations due to lack of business.

Source : BOPA