The annual Botswana Travel and Tourism Expo (BTTE) has made a grand in-person return since the last one was held in 2019.
Having been suspended since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the annual tourism show received impressive reception from the travel trade in Kasane.
Destination workshops, MICE Forum, and other insightful travel industry trends sessions are among a packed line of activities being conducted for Botswana industry practitioners.
Opening the day’s activities at the country’s tourist hotbed in Kasane, the Minister of Environment & Tourism Philda Nani Kereng expressed delight at the turnout of the event and lauded the Botswana Tourism Organization for its hard work in putting together the show.
Highlighting steps government taken by the government to transform the sector, Ms. Kereng said, the revised tourism policy passed by parliament last year is keen to transform the country’s tourism sector.
‘’We have revised the tourism policy, which was passed by Parliament last year, and in this policy embracing the new thinking in terms of government, we have found the need to focus on things that will help us transform the tourism sector and also, do that in a way that will help us to achieve more growth in the economy and create more jobs, create more business opportunities, and actually satisfy the emerging tourist that I talked about last night.’’
She continued that tourists are in demand of unique experiences and entreated tourism operators to go beyond the known safari products to offer something unique and authentic.
‘’They want to know more. They don’t want just to come and see wildlife and do boat cruises like we’ve been doing. They now want to experience the culture of the people and how they are living. They either want to dance with us, they want to see how we live and how we organize our livelihoods and immerse themselves in the destination. ‘’ the minister noted.
The Acting CEO of the Botswana Tourism Organization Ms Tshoganetso Carl-Ponoesele was encouraged by the turnout of buyers and Botswana’s local agents at this year’s travel show.
‘’I am happy with the turnout and great to see international agents are excited. Everybody has been looking forward to this engagement with our local operators, agents, and the destination. The general feeling is a mood of happiness and excitement as the sector looks forward to next year. It has revived some hope and it has given more like our tourism sector is now rising.” Carl-Ponoesele said.
For our tourism sector in Botswana, and I must say what really came out, you know, strong was the events and the conferencing.
Reflecting on what kept the destination going during the covid-19 pandemic, the Acting CEO said, the ability of the country to host top international events with finesse was one of the cardinal growth pillars of the destination.
A total of 140 companies from around the world are currently attending the show with twenty-eight (28) countries from across Africa, Europe, USA, Asia & Australia through the hosted Buyers program.
Fifteen (15) Local craft producers and suppliers of other consumable goods and services produced locally making the SMEs have been brought closer to the industry, with the aim to promote their various products and services.