Tourism has potential to create more jobs – Khama

Toyota 1000 desert race. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Toyota 1000 desert race. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

Kasane will be upgraded to a premier tourist centre through the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) as part of government’s efforts to create employment, President Ian Khama said yesterday.

The ESP, which will be funded from Botswana’s foreign reserves, was announced at a Botswana Democratic Party special congress in Gaborone recently.

Khama said even though tourism is the highest economic revenue earner after minerals, the government is committed to ensuring that more jobs are created in the sector. The tourism sector accounts for over 35,000 jobs.

He said the ESP would see Kazungula becoming a key centre for transport and logistics. Though he did not commit any financial figures, Khama said additional tourist projects and infrastructure across the country to be boosted by ESP include dams, cultural and eco- tourism, conferences and events along with the hospitality sector, which will together bring a facelift to the country.

Still on tourism, Khama announced that P14 million was generated by wildlife community based organisations creating 425 new jobs during the 2014/15 financial year. He said this was a commendable effort by citizen ownership in the tourism and hospitality sector’s continuous growth.

Khama also said new tourism sites were being assessed with local communities for development in such areas as the Central Kalahari and Khutse game reserves, while a South Sowa trail in Makgadikgadi had been developed through partnership with Botswana Ash and Debswana Diamond Company.

“Additional projects will be accelerated through ESP funding and the provision of additional rural infrastructure,” he added.

Turning to agriculture, the President said ESP was expected to stimulate local production through integrated farming by, among other things, providing strategic incentives, including guaranteed market access for local producers, both commercial and small scale.

He said public institutions would procure from local food producers, facilitate market access through the formation of production clusters and marketing cooperatives, and enhance the operations of the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board and Botswana Horticultural Market.

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