Maun — Tourism stakeholders have been urged to embrace digital technology.
Speaking at World Tourism Commemoration in Maun recently, Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Mr Nonofo Molefhi said digital technologies helped promote effectiveness in the tourism sector.
He added that digital technology had the potential to advance the tourism sector.
Technology, he said, provided opportunities for innovation which gave the sector a chance to change its business model.
"I, therefore, urge the tourism sector to fully embrace these technologies to bring about efficiency and effectiveness of their business operations," he said.He noted that digital technologies aided a reliable communication flow, saying it was an asset in the tourism industry for marketing purposes.
Mr Molefhi said some of the changes should be spearheaded by stakeholders since government was experiencing challenges of funds.
He said the country anticipated an easy VISA application system that would allow travellers to experience less constrictions.
He, however, said it required the country to have a resourceful system that would avail individual background checks to avoid compromising the security of the country while facilitating business.
Mr Molefhi also noted that cabinet was discussing ways to optimise Botswana's benefit in the tourism sector, which would entail ensuring all bookings were done locally and not in other states as had been the case.
The minister noted that the tourism sector was vital to Botswana's economy as it created job opportunities and contributed to government revenue.
Furthermore, Mr Molefhi commended government for supporting information analysis necessary for the development of the tourism sector.
He cited the Department of Tourism's initiative of a Tourism Satellite Account (TSA).
The account, he said, had shown improvement on the performance of the sector in comparison with the 2009 results. He noted the internal tourism expenditure of P14.5 billion in 2016 compared to P5.8 billion in 2009.
Mr Molefhi observed that Botswana's Gross Value Added (GVA) was around 7.6 per cent while employment in the tourism sector was 18 760 in 2016. He also noted an increase of tourist arrivals of 1.9 million compared to 1.7 million in 2015.
Globally, he said there was an increase of international arrivals recorded in the past years.
He noted the 2017 growth in many destinations and that some firms experienced recovery after suffering loses in previous years due to the economic meltdown.
An official from the Department of Tourism, Mr Thoppi Sandeep said the department had already embraced digital transformation with the development of a Tourism Licensing Information System (TOLIS).
Mr Sandeep said the project, which was developed in April 2017, aimed to enhance customer reachability since it would be accessed by clients in any part of the country.
He said the system would reduce administrative costs by doing away with manual files among others.
Source : BOPA