MANDUNYANE: Facilities such as hotels, campsites, restaurants lodges, horse tracks and other new state-of-the-art recreational facilities will soon be strategically built within Shashe Dam to cater for those who usually visit the place.
This is according to the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama. Tshekedi who was amongst key speakers at the launch of the ‘Dams tourism initiative’ at Shashe Dam on Saturday.
Shashe Dam is popular because of its scenic setting. Apart from marvelling at its beauty, many Batswana in the north usually visit the dam for recreational purposes, particularly during weekends and holidays.
Outgoing President, Ian Khama unveiled the plaque to mark the start of a journey towards revamping Shashe dam. Other dams such as Thune and Letsibogo will also be revamped as part of the ‘dams’ tourism initiative’.
The Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) will work with local communities, businesses and other stakeholders to implement the initiative. Already, BTO is working with the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) to capacitate some Batswana businesses to benefit from the dams tourism initiative.
“Currently, those who visit Shashe (Dam) for various activities do so for free, but the country could be generating a lot of income from those who visit the dam had we started the dams tourism project years ago”.
“Through the dam tourism initiative, we want the country to financially benefit from its dams around the country. That is why we want to improve the outlook of Shashe Dam and others,” Tshekedi said.
He further said other details relating to the Shashe Dam project will be released in due course.
At the event, the Minister of Empowerment, Sports, Youth and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng noted that Shashe Dam is strategically placed to sufficiently benefit from the much anticipated dam tourism initiative.
“The dam is located in the proximity of the A1 road, which is mostly used by the tourists. Many tourists will inevitably visit the dam once its outlook has been enhanced. The dam is also close to amenities such as the airport. For this reason, some tourists on transit to other destinations might be very willing to visit the area once its outlook has been enhanced. Shashe (dam) is very viable for the dams tourism initiative’,” Olopeng said.
He highlighted that approximately 3,000 people visit the dam during busy holidays such Christmas and Easters.
This, he said, also means that Shashe is very viable for dam tourism. Olopeng urged BTO to fast-track the implementation of the Shashe project in order to create jobs for Batswana.