• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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2024 has been pleasing with operators working to stimulate tourism recovery – Keitumetse Setlang

2024 has been pleasing with operators working to stimulate tourism recovery – Keitumetse Setlang

Keitumetse Setlang, the acting chief executive officer of Botswana Tourism Organisation, has described the year 2024 as pleasing so far, while commending tourism operators and stakeholders in the country for working very hard to stimulate recovery for the people and industry at large.

“It has been a very busy and pleasing year. Pleasing in the sense that we see operators in Botswana working very hard to stimulate recovery for people,” she said.

Read also: Botswana pushes tourism boundaries beyond Africa

Setlang made the declaration at the Botswana stand during this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban, South Africa, noting that BTO has been extremely busy at the beginning of the year to enable it prepare for the rest of the year and the following travel seasons.

“Most of our events are usually in the first half of the year, with a few remaining, like the World Travel Market at the end of the year”.

However, these events, according to her, stimulate travel in terms of people now attending them and in addition to the events, such as BTO’s participation at the ongoing Africa’s Travel Indaba, travel packages are now being sold to prospective global buyers.

Speaking further at the opening day of the ongoing premium travel expo, BTO’s acting CEO expressed her satisfaction on returning back to the fair, noting that it feels good to be back.

But what excited her most is the record number of operators from Botswana at the stand this year.

“We have 45 companies here from Botswana representing different categories of operation; hotels, guest houses, travel agencies, mobile operators, and the airline is here too,” she said.

“We also have community trusts that are here to also, promote the various destinations establishments and packages and businesses”.

She pointed that part of the reasons for BTO’s participation in this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba is also to hear from the market, get clues on how “We can better improve our facilitation for them as they send travellers to Botswana”.

BTO has also been engaging in a number of meetings at the travel expo this year. The meetings are with trade partners and industry stakeholders such as airlines, travel wholesalers, regional tourism organisations and bilateral meetings as well.

But one of the highlights of this year’s participation, which is in line with a sustained transformation conversations in the industry is the incetives given to SMEs to enable them attend the fair.

“We have subsidised SMEs to be a part of this event, and we have a good number of SMEs, over 60 percent of them, who are selling value here at Inaba, which is quite impressive,” the Acting CEO said.

She explained that BTO undertook the subsidy incentives for the SMEs, some of which are owned by youth, because of their values as some of the establishments are not necessarily at the bottom of the pyramid in terms of value.

“They may be small in size, but value is quite sizable. So, it is quite an interesting spice to our participation this year”.

Keitumetse Setlang confessed that her expectations at the fair are already being met at the first day of the fair as visitors to Botswana stand are very busy as well as the Botswana operators and companies at the stand, who are busy marketing their packages and country also.

She expected feedback on supply chains, required facilities, trends and also followups to ensure more visitations and repeat visits.

Looking at the travel trajectory in terms of improved arrivals, she assured of sustainability of the the growth, saying, “As you know, global data miners say the world would have gotten back to pre-covid figures in 2025.

“So, we are working towards shortening that to ensure that by early 2025, we are already counting beyond the numbers that we had obtained in 2019”.