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Tourism minister hopeful of the industry’s return

OPTIMISTIC: Kereng

The Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Philda Kereng has expressed confidence that travel and tourism will return and flourish again.

Kereng was officially opening the 2020 Botswana Travel and Tourism Virtual Expo (BTTVE) on Wednesday in Gaborone.

As much as the industry has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, Kereng said the sector must draw solace from its historical resilience to other global challenges.

“In doing so, Botswana is ready to employ technologies and other means possible to ensure the industry’s survival and recovery through and post the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the minister.

Kereng said the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO0 has pointed out that digitalization is expected to continue propelling the travel experience on its trajectory towards becoming more seamless and frictionless.

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She further stated that the virtual expo forms part of the Tourism Recovery Plan through which the government of Botswana aims to boost gradual opening of the local tourism sector for both domestic and international markets.

“Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Botswana, with a high impact to our Gross Domestic Product, employment as well as its direct contribution through its value-chain,” highlighted the Minister.

The virtual conference attracted 97 local operators and 92 international operators which the Minister said is commendable and a proof of Botswana’s strong links and positioning in the global arena.

Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) Chief Executive Officer, Myra Sekgororoane noted the decision to continue with the event albeit virtually was born out of the determination to find ways of ensuring the resilience of the local tourism industry.

“The Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of strong partnerships in travel and tourism, and we look forward to an even more enhanced relationship with our tour operators and buyers globally,” said Sekgororoane.
She said this is to ensure Botswana remains a top-of-mind destination for travellers.

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