GABORONE-Botswana has intensified efforts to reboot the ailing tourism industry battered by the low international tourist visits since the advent of Covid by adopting innovative ways of marketing the country as the jewel of Africa.
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi took the country’s quest for improved international tourist arrivals this week by launching a robust digital marketing platform for the country meant to reach all spheres of the globe and position Botswana as a safe, credible and attractive destination for tourism.
The initiative being spearheaded by the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) will embark on an adventure to digitally explore Botswana from September 2 to October 2021.
Under the theme “Botswana Live,” the campaign which will be hosted on an interactive user interface platform will profile, market, and promote Botswana’s various destinations virtually.
According to the Botswana Government the adventure comes as a response to the COVID-19 Pandemic’s impact on travel and tourism in Botswana and is an alternative and technologically advanced approach in keeping with the current trend aimed at promoting travel to and around destinations in Botswana.
“Today I launch one of the most innovative ways of driving tourism in Botswana and portray our country as a favoured tourist destination proud of hospitable people and blessed with various tourist destinations,” President Masisi said while launching the initiative.
The Botswana Live Virtual Tours platform as a promotional activity, will showcase the Botswana product to travellers before visiting the destination.
It will also the organisation with the opportunity to effectively package Botswana to capture, inspire and entice travellers as well as ensure that the destinations stay top of mind for travellers.
Ironically the push for international tourist arrivals for Botswana comes at a time when the Southern African region is being called on to tap within the frameworks of regional and intra-continental tourism.
Tourism industry in the region is estimated to have lost R20 billion in potential revenue since covid-19 hit and shed thousands of jobs.
According to the UNDP in their latest reports produced by Professor Henrich Bolmann, the COVID 19 pandemic has disproportionately affected growth forecasts in the region, while creating uncertainty over travel from the traditional European tourist market which feeds the region.
Professor Bolmann reiterated that most traditional tourists are more sceptical than ever despite the introduction of various vaccines leaving the region with little option but to look within for solutions.
“As of January 2021, great uncertainty remains about the impact of COVID-19 on global tourism markets in the short to medium term. Policy responses and their success in terms of limiting both health and economic impacts have varied a great deal throughout the world, “professor Bolmann said.
He also reckons that,” Whilst many countries have reopened their borders, others have either maintained or returned to various levels of lockdown during the second half of 2020.
Optimism that recently approved vaccines will become available on a global scale during 2021 has been offset by the effects of a second wave of infections in many parts of the world since 2020 including South Africa and key European and North American markets.”