Covid challenges still haunt the tourism sector

BTO Acting CEO Keitumetse Setlang
BTO Acting CEO Keitumetse Setlang

KASANE: Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) Acting CEO Keitumetse Setlang has disclosed that whilst the tourism industry has shown signs of improvement post the COVID-19 era, there is still a long way to go as some operators struggle to emerge from the slumber due to a number of challenges.

When giving an update on the state of the sector in the country during the Botswana Tourism and Travel Expo (BTTE), Setlang said the tourism sector still faces challenges that include non-conformity to licensing requirements and substandard tourist upkeep among others.

She said there are still issues of lower ratings especially guesthouses and failure to comply with grading requirements which consequently lead to a good number of tourism facilities being awarded conditional grading. Setlang also indicated that reduction in the number of staff engaged for maintenance and housekeeping as a result of COVID -19 are some of the niggling challenges they face.

However, Setlang said the organisation has adopted a strategic approach towards stimulating tourism recovery and demand within the local, regional and international markets.

"Efforts have been made to promote quality products and services. We will also increase monitoring and mentoring of ungraded tourist enterprises in order for them to upgrade," Setlang said.

Meanwhile, Setlang also revealed that the preliminary report of a study on the Analysis of Tourism Linkages in Botswana is expected to be submitted on December 15.

The study is conducted through a partnership between the BTO and Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA). The study was initiated to determine missing components as well as underlying policy and structural deficiencies for revenue loss at each point with a view to formulate strategic interventions.

"In addition, the survey sought to identify the linkages of the key activities, determine their value addition and map the value chain of the sector," she explained.

She said they expect the final report early next year. The BTTE which gives an opportunity to the global and local tourism industry players to meet one on one basis to share experiences, trade and agree on future exciting packages started last week Wednesday in Kasane. The three-day event ended on December 2.

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