Rasesa — Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) in partnership with tourism associations have embarked on a campaign to drive the domestic travel and tourism strategy named Rediscover Botswana.
The campaign, which started on July 27 and will end on August 22, is led by two media personalities and avid travellers Thalefang Charles and Sonny Serite, who will embark on an 8 000km tour around Botswana. Involved tourism associations include Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana, Botswana Guides Association, Travel Agents Association of
Botswana, Guest Houses association of Botswana and Botswana Wildlife Producers Association.
Speaking at the Rediscover Botswana expedition launch at Matsieng Footprints site on Monday, BTO chief executive officer, Myra Sekgororoane said the campaign sets practical measures to generate greater value from domestic travel and tourism in the country.
She said the strategy was focused on the fact that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the domestic market was the only current tourist market in Botswana due to the closure of our borders for tourists, not to mention a total stoppage of overseas travel.
"As a second earner to the country's economy, we cannot sit back and wait for how things pan out. We have to enhance that, which we have some control of," she said.
She further indicated that it was against this background that BTO had collaborated with Charles and Serite, who were avid travellers to embark on an expedition, which would see them traverse 8 000km of the country.
"This campaign is aimed at educating and increasing Botswana tourism product knowledge to influence and increase domestic travel," she continued.
This particular expedition kick starts the Botswana domestic tourism travel campaign, which will go through various parks and reserves such as Kalahari Transfrontier Park, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park among others.
She said the expedition was envisioned to outline practical mechanisms to address the needs of a local traveller, which would be achieved through education and awareness on available, affordable and accessible travel and tourism opportunities and packages from the industry.
Sekgororoane said the success of the domestic tourism campaign would also determine how BTO respond to the need for broadening participation and beneficiation, be it economic or otherwise, in the tourism sector.
"It is encouraging to note that there is sufficient focus on the facilitation of effective partnerships, enhanced product development as a potential growth point," she noted.
She further said key to unlocking domestic tourism and travel potential in Botswana was to create and nurture a travel culture among all its people, especially among its young, increasingly mobile and highly aspirational millennial.
Sekgororoane said the expedition, not only challenged the misconceptions with regards to travel, it would also showcase the country in a way that would fill Batswana's hearts with pride.
She said it would inspire Batswana and demonstrate that travel was not really only about getting from A to B, but sharing experiences, exploring out-of-the-way places and discovering who people were as much as discovering the gem hide-away of Botswana.
She noted that BTO was of the firm belief that advertising alone would not solve their challenges or create sufficient travel to and around Botswana.
"It will instead require the mobilisation of all Batswana as vital brand ambassadors to drive the country's tourism efforts, inspired by bold and integrated communication that awakens all of us towards action by travelling our country," said Sekgororoane.
As the global tourism industry continues to struggle in the midst of the unprecedented COVID-19 effects, Sekgororoane said many nations around the world were preparing to re-open the industry once travel was more feasible.
"And for some countries, this could be their opportunity to establish themselves as a prominent regional force for tourism. For us in Botswana, it is a chance to showcase our product in a manner that assures the traveller of a COVID-19 safe destination," she said.
For his part, expedition team leader, Charles said the expedition would take them to places such as Maun, Ghanzi, Tsodilo Hills, Makgadikgadi pans, Sehithwa, Okavango, Kasane, Savuti, Elephant Sands, Lake Kau, Xuihaba caves, Kgalagadi and Orapa to mention a few.
"The final destination of the expedition is the three Dikgosi monument in Gaborone," he said.
Source : BOPA