Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) has joined the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), becoming the newest member and first destination partner from Africa.
The lead tourist destination marketer for Botswana joins other tourism authorities from Europe, North America and the Middle East to become WTTC's sixth partner since it launched the membership category in April.
This was during the Global Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The move has been welcomed by WTTC president Gloria Guevara, who says the organization is pleased with BTO's membership and its status as the first African destination partner.
According to Guevara, tourism remains a vital part of Botswana's economy contributing 11.5 per cent of the nation's economy. The sector sustained 76,000 jobs last year.
"The inclusion of Botswana Tourism Organisation as a destination partner helps to broaden WTTC's representation of the global tourism sector," she noted adding that it allows WTTC to "more effectively advocate for tourism actors and key issues worldwide."
WTTC is a forum for the travel and tourism industry made up of members from the global business community. It works with governments to raise awareness about the travel and tourism industry.
Its members include over 170 CEOs, Chairmans and Presidents of the world's leading Travel and Tourism companies from all geographies covering all industries.
WTTC supports one in 10 jobs (313 million) worldwide, generating 10.4 per cent of World Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
It conducts research on the economic impact of travel and tourism in 185 countries, an initiative spanning over 25 years.
BTO on the other hand was set up by the Botswana government to market and promote Botswana as a premier tourist destination.
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It is tasked with developing Botswana into a unique preferred tourism destination of choice, in order to increase the sector's contribution to the economic growth of the nation.
As part of its efforts to reach this goal, the organisation is constantly expanding and promoting the international image of Botswana.
Its mandate includes planning, developing and implementing tourism marketing and promotion strategies for Botswana.
It also determines and advices the government on policies as well as implement such policies. Another key task is to establish and expand local and international travel trade networks.
BTO acting chief executive Zibanani Hubona said the membership will enable the entity to add a voice to the global call for sustainable tourism development.
In 2017, the global travel and tourism industry experienced 4.6 per cent growth, compared to the global economy (3 per cent).
One in five new jobs was created by the industry, and is why WTTC is positioned as one of the best partner for governments to create jobs.