GABORONE, Botswana, August 2020/ — The Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) Board Chairperson, Boitumelo Sekwababe has commended the Rediscover-Botswana duo of Sonny Serite and Thalefang Charles for completing their crisscrossing mission across the country with the aim of reigniting local travel and tourism.
Welcoming the duo from their 8000km expedition across Botswana at the Hilton Hotel in Gaborone on Saturday, the BTO Board chair said the recently completed expedition highlighted Botswana’s treasures, some of which were not so well-known, adding that he hopes everyone has noted things to add to their bucket list, while at it sharing tips on how to enjoy Botswana at various budgets.
The expedition lasted 27 days of non-stop exploring by the duo across the landlocked pristine tourism destination of Botswana.
Explaining how the Rediscover Botswana expedition came about, the petite duo said they had put together a proposal to the Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) and its stakeholders, the aim being to ignite local travel and tourism, something which was given a thumbs up, and ultimately seeing Thalefang and Sonny traversing Botswana in all its lengths and breadths; from the dusty and challenging terrains of the Kgalagadi desert to the wet and wild Okavango Delta.
“We are delighted as we host this event where the tourism industry gives due recognition to fellow patriotic citizens and game changers who embarked on this long journey to showcase what this country has to offer.
Through the ‘Rediscover Botswana Expedition’ the Botswana Tourism Organisation and the Expedition crew have jointly demonstrated the power of partnerships, especially if such partnerships are in line with set mandates. The partnership between BTO and the Expedition team could not have come at a better time.
As BTO rolls out the domestic marketing campaign there was a need to reignite the local market’s desire for the local product. Having followed this expedition myself, and having received a lot of good feedback, I can attest to its success,” added Sekwababe.
Furthermore, the BTO Board Chair said, “We have had tremendous support for this initiative through contributions made by various generous organisations who I would like to take this opportunity to applaud for their continued commitment and support towards the tourism industry in its various endeavours.
I want to pay special gratitude to the sponsors who saw value in the project at inception and those who picked along the way to support the team as they traversed various parts of the country. We need every development partner, including the business fraternity and citizens to support initiatives such as the ‘Rediscover Botswana Expedition’. I hasten to say while Government is the overall custodian of programmes such as this, she cannot do it alone.”
Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors in Botswana. This is an industry that, permeates the socio-economic life of the majority of Batswana, linking all national zones and providing livelihoods to all segments of the population. Few industries in the world cover the range of skills that are required in tourism.
The 2020 Global Peace Index has ranked Botswana as the second most peaceful country in Africa and 33rd amongst 163 countries surveyed globally. The 2020 Global Peace Index (GPI) reveals a world in which the crises that have emerged in the past decade have begun to abate, only to be replaced with a new wave of tension and uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey says, “The COVID-19 pandemic will cause substantial changes in how society operates, and business is conducted in most countries.”
For his part, Travel Agents Association of Botswana, Rajneesh Bhatnagar was equally pleased with the traction the expedition received.
He said his association is a collective of travel professionals dedicated to providing quality travel services to individuals and organizations alike in Botswana.
“Let me congratulate the two brave journalists, Sonny Serite and Tlhalefang Charles for having embarked on a month long trip in our country’s adventurous terrain, camping in our picturesque parks, visiting our national heritage sites and unearthing hidden gems, all in the name of saving tourism, it could not have been easy but here you are. It would take a lifetime for some of us to achieve such feats .
We at TAABOT have always expressed the importance of locals in the uptake and participation of local tourism, at the end of the day we are all we got, so let us continue to market our products to locals even post COVID-19.”
BTO had partnered with tourism associations such as 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).