Gaborone — The tourism industry is one of the top sectors of the economy which has suffered the devastating effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing the nation on Tuesday on Botswana Television via Skype, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism, Ms Philda Kereng said the tourism sector was bearing the brunt of COVID-19 as it depended entirely on tourists from outside the country.
Ms Kereng said although her ministry was not yet ready to release figures of losses, the sector was seriously affected by the suspension of air travel worldwide, indicating that the sector worldwide had so far lost around US$50 billion.
She said the government was committed to seeing to it that the sector was assisted during the lockdown and post lockdown as it was the second highest income earner for the country.
Ms Kereng said her wish was to see all employees of the sector come back when the situation stabilises, pinning her hopes on the recently established National COVID-19 Relief fund, which was aimed at assisting employees to maintain their staff during the pandemic.
On other issues, Ms Kereng said her ministry was using two aircraft to deliver assistance to the employees around the country so as to avoid a situation where they ran short of essentials they need to continue performing their duties.
Further, Ms Kereng said they were in the process of acquiring satellite phones to ease communication during 'this trying time'.
She also said her ministry had postponed the hunting period, which was supposed to start this month, to either December or even February next year to allow trusts and their clients to honour their agreements reached.
She also highlighted that rhino poaching had gone down after the recent incidents in which five poachers were killed.
Source : BOPA