KASANE, Botswana, December 2, 2019/ – – Botswana Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservations and Tourism, Philda Nani Kereng has promised attendees at the ongoing Botswana Travel and Tourism Expo (BTTE) that her ministry will address challenges that are negatively affecting the tourism industry.
Officially opening BTTE at Cresta Mowana Safari Resort and Spa in Kasane last night, Kereng said the facilitation of the tourism industry is spread across various government ministries and there are areas which could negatively impacts on the industry. The minister assured the BTTE 2019 gathering that these impacts would be her priority for engaging her colleagues and resolve as part of transforming the tourism sector.
These challenges, the minister noted include, a more efficient facilitation of VISAS, advocacy to stabilise air access, repositioning our National Parks and Game Reserves to improve their pristine nature as well as the drive to push the agenda for diversification in tourism. Kereng noted that already she has started engaging various stakeholders towards addressing other impediments to doing tourism business.
“Our local industry has been exemplary in driving this sector with so much zeal and passion. Some of your have extended your business beyond just the resource on tourism and contributed ton our national conservation agenda, particularly the re-introduction of the charismatic species such as the rhino. This kind of collaboration is critical to take this sector to greater heights.
The symbiotic relations we have established and continue to enhance will take this country far,” said Kereng adding that, “as tourism you have built what is envied by other sectors,” and as such implored everyone to ensure community beneficiation.
The Minister responsible for tourism said the BTTE started from humble begins in 2013, and has thus far grown immensely as now invitations are extended to countries that operators never initially targeted.
“Harnessing emerging markets while servicing our existing markets is extremely important so as not to lose out on global opportunities. This is the reason why Botswana Tourism Organisation has started to penetrate the Middle East as evidenced by our recent participation at the 2019 Hospitality Qatar Fair. We continue to be steadfast in our efforts to find more opportunities for our local operators across the world,” said Kereng.
The minister thanked and welcomed all visitors from around the globe for continuing to make Botswana a priority in their marketing schedules, adding that, “You’ve been consistent in attending this show since we started and on behalf of government, we will ensure that we make it easier for you to promote Botswana by placing more emphasis on everything that makes Botswana stand out.”
Kereng said despite all the positive accolades that the country continue to garner such as the recent ‘Best Safari Destination’, Botswana has experienced a number of challenges this year, with global media and some lobby groups challenging the country’s conservation agency and particularly attempting to create some doubts on Botswana’s commitment to protect elephants.
“The government would strive to keep Botswana as a leader in conservation. Our decisions are always scientifically informed to ensure the protection and conservation of our natural resources. Wildlife conservation remains a huge contributor to our tourism sector and being the engine of our future, it would be naive to think we could neglect its protection,” concluded Kereng.
For his part, the assistant Minister of Tertiary Education and Member of Parliament for Chobe, Machana Ronald Shamukuni applauded BTO for hosting BTTE over the years, adding that, “Botswana Tourism Organisation team has demonstrated a great level of passion for this event and having part of it since inception, I believe its growth is all a result of the hard work put behind its execution.”
Shamukuni also commended that the Chobe leadership for their continued facilitation of all that is needed for smooth running of the BTTE as well as their continued support towards the growth of the tourism sector.
The area MP also thanked airline partners; Air Botswana, South African Airways and Qatar Airways for being part of the BTTE.
The Botswana Travel and Tourism Expo aptly tagged #BTTE19, began on Monday, December 2 is expected to come to a resounding close on December, 6, 2019.
Botswana Travel & Tourism Expo (BTTE) offers a unique opportunity to the world’s travel industry to establish business partnerships with the Botswana tourism industry players. The BTTE also offers a unique strategic networking opportunity and gives special insight into the Botswana Tourism product, where one can access new markets and achieve business objectives. 280 exhibitors have attended this year’s exposition, which include 140 local operators and 140 international exhibitors.
A total of 33 countries from around the world are participating at the BTTE with new entrants from Argentina, United Arab Emirates and Israel who have all converged in Kasane including some of the big Global tourism industry key players such as Qatar Airways and South African Airways and Air Botswana.