GABORONE – In its continuous efforts to court more and more Batswana to visit South Africa and its splendid attractions, a delegation from Tourism Kwa-Zulu-Natal (KZN) is in Botswana from November 1-4 activating at the Game City Mall, Gaborone to promote KZN as a must-visit province. The delegation which arrived in Gaborone yesterday are engaging currently holding talks hops with potential Batswana visitors, travel agents as well as tour operators.
Despite Botswana’s estimated 2.5 million people, the landlocked diamond country is apparently leading the entire SADC region with most visits to South Africa’s Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) Province. According to tourism data, most of Batswana and citizens mainly go for shopping sprees, township lifestyle, the beach and other iconic tourism sites that the province pride itself with.
KZN has the iconic city of Durban popularly known as eThekwini which boasts of many establishments which continue to be of interest to Batswana such as Ushaka Marine World, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban Botanic Gardens and Eyadini among many others. The KZN Tourism authority has also been on an aggressive campaign to promote their domestic tourism offering dubbed “Do KZN”, which mainly focuses on some landlocked provinces in the country such as Gauteng and the Free State ahead of the upcoming summer season.
“We are excited to take the campaign to the rest of the African continent but for now, we are only focused on some of our neighbouring countries such as Botswana. We want to reaffirm our position that KZN is definitely a worthwhile tourism destination especially with the upcoming summer season. KZN has a 600km coastline which visitors can enjoy with plenty of beach activities for the whole family,” said Phindile Makwakwa, TKZN’s Acting Chief Executive Officer.
Furthermore, Tourism KZN announced that they will be taking two emerging tourism entrepreneurs to Botswana – Leisure Holidays and Romaflo Travel – who are part of the Authority’s SMME Development Program who will meet agents and operators (trade) from Botswana solely for the purpose of networking as well as forming business linkages.This is also part of the TKZN’s access to market initiatives which further assist new entrants in the tourism sector to build new business networks in other countries to further grow their businesses.
During the mall activation, the SMMEs will sell KZN packages and promote their services to clients who may be keen on visiting KZN. The TKZN added that they have just returned from Bloemfontein where they staged a successful activation in partnership with Durban Tourism at one of the city’s biggest cultural activities dubbed Macufe festival. Makwakwa emphasized that SADC is their next target for the province and that they will be targeting a lot more countries in the region.
“Just as much as we are encouraging our own South African tourists to come and enjoy our region, we also want people from our neighbouring African countries to experience what we have,” she added. “As we create awareness and raise the profile of our province, we aim to highlight how travel agents and tour operators from landlocked countries can package and sell KZN as a destination of choice to their customers.”
Getting to “Do KZN” has never been easier either as there is now greater connectivity compared to years gone by, courtesy of Air Namibia’s popular route between Durban, Gaborone and Windhoek. It is just one of the new routes that form part of KZN’s integrated route development strategy which aims to connect Durban’s King Shaka International Airport to the rest of the world.
Makwakwa pointed out that tourism is one of the economic activities that can help grow regional markets and that collaboration between regional governments and the private sector can further grow the industry.TKZN is planning an interactive activation where consumers will have a chance to buy special holiday packages to KZN as well as enjoy a unique Virtual Reality exhibition, which give guests a glimpse of what KZN has to offer and what it means to “Do KZN”.
“Virtual Reality is the future of tourism promotion and we are taking the lead by allowing potential visitors to experience attractions like zip-lining, surfing and Zulu dancing,” Makwakwa said. The KZN “Travel Guide” app will also be on show. It has become a useful tool that enables travellers and those planning their trips to navigate their way around KZN with ease (it’s free on iStore and Google Play).
While KZN’s beaches have long been a major drawcard for major visitors, Makwakwa stressed that the province has so much to offer, including two UNESCO World Heritage sites, diverse wildlife, adventure, rich history, romantic and a buzzing city life as well as varied shopping options.
Meanwhile Durban Tourism Marketing Manager, Miseni Duma said with the new direct flight to Durban (Air Namibia) it would be easy for more Batswana to reach their destination of choice within a short spell of time with no hassles of interconnections.“Batswana continue to throng our city in large numbers, and although we can’t force our stakeholders such as hotels, sites to put in discounts as festive is their peak, we can only influence as the body.
We are grateful for the economic impact Batswana has had into our province since we came into their shores to market ourselves,” he said. Among the what-do-dos in Durban include the famous Mandela Capture site at Howick and the Ohlange Institute outside Durban where Mandela cast his first vote.