GABORONE, Botswana, July 2020/ — Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) whose mandate is to market and promote Botswana as a tourist destination of choice has embarked on a new marketing campaign dubbed Re-Discover Botswana. The 8000km expedition sees two Batswana avid travellers and media personalities, Thalefang Charles and Sonny Serite embarking on the long and exciting route across the country to re-ignite Batswana and citizens’ passion to explore the beautiful country of Botswana.
Tourism is the second contributor to Botswana’s economy, and the government has identified the industry as an engine of growth that can meaningfully contribute to the national diversification programme.
Before COVID-19 and through different competitive platforms, BTO facilitated Tour Operators to participate at different tourism events/ fairs to showcase and promote their products and services. These events are premier Business to Business ( B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) tourism platforms where tourism trade took place. Now, with the world grappling with the devastating effects of COVID-19, which has adversely affected the travel and tourism industry, BTO sees the need to encourage and promote local travel even more pertinent than ever, hence the Re-Discover Botswana campaign.
Launched on Monday morning at Rasesa’s Matsieng Footprints near Mochudi, the 8000km 4X4 vehicles expedition will see Thalefang and Serite criss-crossing the lengths and breadths of Botswana – from Bokspits to the Okavango Delta, the primary aim being to ignite the passion of local travel and tourism amongst citizens.
The month long campaign is supported by Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO), Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB), Botswana Guides Association (BOGA), Travel Agents Association of Botswana (TAABOT), Guest Houses Association of Botswana and the Botswana Wildlife Producers Association (BWPA).
Even more profound is that the duo’s journey started at Rasesa – a place known to hold diverse cultural heritage and a few folklore stories especially the Matsieng footprints. Legend goes that the footprints belong to a giant called Matsieng, who is said to have emerged from a hole in the ground, along with his animals and people. Several footprints can be found spread over vast distances, captured forever in the ancient sandstone rock. The largest measures some 340 mm / 13 inches long. Thought to be between 3,000 to 10,000 years old, the footprints are actually more likely to have been created by the Basarwa people who used to inhabit the area.
Speaking at the send-off ceremony, B.T.O Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Myra Sekgororoane told the media and well wishers that the campaign is aimed at educating and increasing the Botswana tourism product knowledge to influence and increase domestic travel.
“One of Botswana Tourism Organization’s primary mandates is to market and promote Botswana as a preferred tourist destination of choice by both locals, residents as well as the international community at large. In order to achieve this mandate, we collaborate with various stakeholders who have a direct impact on the industry to inspire travellers to explore and experience the Botswana tourism products,” said Sekgororoane.
Furthermore, the CEO stated, “The expedition kickstarts the Botswana Domestic Tourism Travel Campaign and will go through various parks and reserves such as Kalahari TransFrontier Park (KTP), Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park among others.”
“As the global tourism industry struggles in the midst of the unprecedented COVID-19 effects, many nations around the world are preparing to re-open the industry once travel is more feasible – for some countries, this could be their first opportunity to establish themselves as a prominent regional force for tourism. For us in Botswana it is a chance to showcase our product in a manner that assures the traveller of a COVID-19 safe destination,” concluded Sekgororoane.
Speaking to #BotswanaUnplugged from their stopover in Bokspits, Thalefang said he was excited to be on the trip adding that there is a growing number of Batswana who travel for leisure in Botswana using their own vehicles.
About the campaign he said, “Re-Discover Botswana’s main objective is to inspire domestic travel. We want Batswana to explore their country. And we hope they will be motivated by this adventure to also travel, not necessarily like we do. Botswana is the safari capital of the world, but that’s not all. It needs a curious mind, there are many unexplored areas. You have to take it slow. Make proper plans and you’ll realise that it’s very cheap to travel locally when you are Motswana. Do not just seek for beautiful lodge properties, but the experience they offer too,” advised Thalefang.
Other sponsors include Mascom, Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Terrafou Game Lodge and Bush backtrackers.