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Driving Citizenship Participation Through Local Value Chain Enhancement in Botswana’s Tourism Sector

In the heart of Southern Africa lies Botswana, a land of unparalleled natural beauty and wildlife diversity. Home to the world-renowned Okavango Delta and the unparalleled wilds of the Linyanti, Botswana’s tourism industry stands as a beacon of economic potential. However, amidst the allure of safari adventures and luxury lodges, lies a deeper ambition and opportunity: to empower local communities and drive greater citizenship participation. 

Okavango Wilderness Safaris (OWS), a leading player in Botswana’s tourism and conservation space, is committed to spearheading efforts to enhance the local value chain, thus creating an even more inclusive and sustainable tourism model. This ambition has seen considerably greater investment as OWS ramps up efforts to build a stronger local ecosystem of support. 

At the core of OWS’s mission is a commitment to harnessing the potential of Botswana’s tourism sector to benefit the broader community. This entails not only providing memorable experiences for visitors but also ensuring that local citizens are active participants and beneficiaries of the industry’s success. By amplifying the local value chain, OWS aims to create a ripple effect of positive socioeconomic impact across Botswana. 

Enhancing the local value chain involves a multifaceted approach that begins with fostering partnerships with local suppliers and businesses. OWS prioritises sourcing goods and services locally, from fresh produce to artisan crafts, thereby bolstering the livelihoods of local vendors and entrepreneurs. This includes products and services consumed or used within camps and lodges, and even in curio shops within camps or at the Maun operations base. 

Says OWS Caretaker MD, Joe Matome, “OWS is a proudly Botswana business and we are passionate about supporting Botswana’s growth. By integrating local suppliers into the supply chain, we can promote economic empowerment but also cultivate a sense of pride and ownership within the community. This is why we have worked to launch, on 13 March 2024, our very first Local Supplier Expo. The journey began years ago with our registration for the Botswana Pride Mark, and enhanced procurement policies, and now grows as we actively seek, train and empower local vendors”.

As OWS gears up for its inaugural Supplier Expo in Maun on the 13th of March 2024, local businesses are encouraged to register to be able to show their products and services in a bid to meet the quality and service standards required, and to ultimately enter the fold of contractors of OWS.  The inaugural Supplier Expo will focus on ceramics (tableware and decorative), uniform, linen, towels, engine lubricants, curios, amenities, food and beverage (including agricultural supplies), tyres, bulbs, toilet paper, service for consolidation (to identify more services needed and bring together smaller suppliers), and cleaning materials. An opportunity to grow and scale their businesses, vendors who progress to consideration and contracting will also be provided with support in the form of training and workshops facilitated by OWS.

The potential impact of enhancing the local value chain in Botswana’s tourism sector extends far beyond economic gains. By fostering greater citizenship participation, OWS strives to pave the way for a more inclusive and sustainable tourism model. Through its commitment to empowering local communities, preserving cultural heritage, and fostering economic empowerment, it is about constantly evolving and growing exemplifies the transformative power of responsible tourism.

As Botswana’s tourism industry continues to thrive and contribute to a more diversified economy, the ambition of Okavango Wilderness Safaris to enhance the local value chain stands as an unwavering commitment to the power of collaboration and community empowerment. By prioritising citizenship participation and sustainability, the company not only enriches the experiences of visitors but also creates lasting positive change for the people and the land of Botswana.

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