Gaborone — Botswana is ready to employ technologies and other possible means to ensure survival and recovery of the tourism industry, post COVID-19.
Speaking during the 2020 Botswana Travel and Tourism virtual Expo (BTTVE) on Thursday in Gaborone, the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Ms Philda Kereng said Botswana would strive to continue being a tourism destination of choice.
Ms Kereng hailed the tourism industry for continuing gravitating towards growing and developing tourism by embracing the new normal through digital transformation.
The virtual expo forms part of the Tourism Recovery Plan, through which government aims to boost gradual opening of the tourism sector for both domestic and international markets, she said.
Ms Kereng emphasised that tourism remained the most important sectors in Botswana with a high impact to Gross Domestic Product, employment as well as its direct contribution through its value chain.
She indicated that the tourism industry permeated the socio-economic life of the majority of Batswana, linking all national zones and providing livelihoods to all segments of the population.
She further said it contributed to a wide range of skills transfer and development of new competencies.
Ms Kereng stated that in continuing to observe all set COVID-19 health protocols, government was positive that travel and tourism business would return, grow and flourish.
Regarding the virtual expo, Ms Kereng assured the international tourism operators and agents that everything they expect; the networking, support from suppliers, updates on products and services that continue to make Botswana relevant as a true tourist destination of choice were availed.
She said the UN World Tourism Organisation had pointed out that digitalisation was expected to continue propelling the travel experience on its trajectory towards becoming a seamless, frictionlessin a way that contributed to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Meanwhile, Ms Kereng commended local operators for having continued to show resilience in difficult COVID-19 times and for hosting the domestic tourists with COVID-19 prevention procedures.
She encouraged them to continue being innovative in generating new businesses to ensure continued competitiveness, growth and sustainable development of the tourism sector under trying times.
Minister Kereng further commended Botswana Tourism Sector for registering 97 local operators and 92 international ones for the virtual expo, saying that was proof and assurance of strong links and positioning on the global arena.
The three days BTTVE platform featured interactive webinar sessions with professionals that were aimed at updating the industry and the public with the latest tourism trends.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>