The Head of the European Delegation to Botswana, Paul Malin, said if southern African countries use tourism to their advantage, revenue generated could be invested in infrastructure
. "Hotels and lodges can be built, public transport can become more accessible and facilities necessary for tourism at higher levels of comfort can be established," Malin told a workshop on Investment in Sustainable Tourism in Southern Africa in Gaborone recently.
He said some of the key challenges that face tourism in southern Africa are also relevant to Europe.
He cited structural changes driven by climate change such as rising sea levels, scarcity of water, pressure on biodiversity and risk to cultural heritage from mass tourism as well as an increasing global competition and the need for sustainable high quality tourism.
Malin said southern Africa has assets because it is rich in natural resources, therefore there is a need to protect those resources. "Africa as a whole is growing in tourist demand, being one of the regions with positive growth over the last year of five percent," he said.
"Botswana ranked at number five in 2008 in the top five destinations
Sekgororoane said air transport is also a limiting factor but said that the introduction of liberalised policies could prove an advantage.
She said there are guiding principles in strategy formulation in tourism that aim to help improve quality such as private/public partnerships and product diversification. Mark Gumengo of Gaborone Sun said although tourism is growing in southern Africa, there are many challenges that still need to be overcome.
He said there is no uniformity in product offering and service standards as well as inadequate tourist infrastructure. Gumengo said regional airfares are scarce, pricing is not competitive enough while the price structure for products rely heavily on airfares.