Botswana: Tourism Sector Continues to Grow

The tourism industry has played an important role in economic diversification of Botswana with the sector currently employing around 35 000 people.

This was revealed by the President who said the industry has experienced 45 per cent increase in licensed enterprises in the past decade with recent growth largely driven by citizen investment.

President pointed out that in 2013/14 alone , 135 newly licensed citizen-owned enterprises were registered. He explained that as of May 2014, 61 per cent (enterprises) were citizen-owned, 23 per cent were joint ventures, while only 16 per cent were foreign owned.

"To further fuel this positive trend, we are continuing to find innovative ways to promote a broadening of the tourism product, in collaboration with the Botswana Tourism Organisation, private sector and civil society partners.

Our progress is evidenced by the number of new attractions being opened up in less developed areas such as Kgalagadi, Tswapong and Bobirwa. With the approval of management plans, we will soon also open up dams for tourism and recreation purposes," he said.

He explained that such areas as Makgadikgadi Epic sky dive, Khawa Dune Challenge, and the Toyota Kalahari 1000 Desert Race were bringing in visitors while raising the country's profile.

"Another means through which we are diversifying our tourism is the development of historic and cultural, as well as natural heritage sites," said President Khama. According to him, several heritages such as Makgadikgadi Heritage Trail, which is one of the 74 heritage places across the country, have already been developed.