Puma notes strong tourism rebound

Puma Energy's data shows the recovery of local tourism
Puma Energy's data shows the recovery of local tourism

The tourism sector has made a strong comeback from the severe economic setback it sustained during the COVID-19 pandemic, figures for flight arrivals last year have confirmed.

According to data released by Puma Energy Botswana, the sole airline refueller at all the four airports in the country, over 28,000 flights were fuelled compared to only 10,000 in 2020 during the pandemic. The local tourism sector, the country’s second largest foreign currency earner, began to rebound in 2022 as travel restrictions were relaxed and more people opened up to travelling. Figures indicate that in 2022 the tourism sector contributed 12.5% to Botswana’s economic output, with analysts expecting this number to continue rising. “The new data shows in 2022 Puma Energy Aviation safely refuelled over 28,000 flights with Jet A1 and AVGAS at Botswana’s four main airports,” Puma Energy officials said in a statement this week. “This means the number of flights Puma Energy Aviation refuelled grew by 185% more than the nearly 10,000 refuelled in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Speaking previously at the annual Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) conference, the Minister responsible for tourism, Philda Kereng, said while the sector was severely affected by the COVID-19, it has since found its footing and there are greenshoots of recovery with multiple efforts to broaden out beyond the flora and fauna that have been the sector’s bread and butter. “People want to engage in activities that are beyond traditional tourism,” she said then. Government has been fast tracking efforts to diversify from its heavy mineral dependence and tourism has been identified as one of the ways out. Meanwhile, when delivering his 2021 State of the Nation Address, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said he was pleased that Parliament had approved the Revised Tourism Policy, which is expected to boost citizen participation in key tourism areas such as the Okavango Delta and national parks throughout Botswana. Additional efforts by government to bolster the tourism sector during the pandemic included a further P200 million from the Tourism Industry Support Fund disbursed by the National Development Bank in the form of loans. “As a result of these interventions, government saved over 1,000 jobs in the industry,” said Masisi. T

he Puma Energy report further reveals that the company is preparing for a more sustainable energy future by investing in solar installation at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport and Maun International Airport to encourage the deployment of clean energy solutions while simultaneously reducing the carbon footprint of its operations. These efforts, combined with fiscal support from government, are expected to support the tourism sector for further growth.

Editor's Comment
Bravo, Matlala JSS for recognising employees!

Last Friday, Matlala Junior Secondary School (JSS) in Tlokweng did just that – they organised an event to honour their teachers and support staff. This gesture is truly commendable, as teachers occupy a pivotal role in the lives of our children.To be completely candid, teachers are the ones who shape our children from a very tender age, investing a significant amount of time in their growth and development. It's not uncommon to hear parents...

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