Botswana’s travel and tourism suffers from lack of investment in infrastructure
Travel and tourism has been held back by a failure to invest in basic infrastructure projects, particularly the road network, which has left much of the country inaccessible to tourists, but also in new hotels and sites of tourist interest, such as safari parks and shopping facilities. There are signs that the government is now willing to invest more money with a view to developing the industry, and it is actively encouraging foreign private investment in the country.
Botswana continues to lack a strong identity as a tourism destination
Despite some limited marketing campaigns, Botswana has struggled to develop a cohesive brand image as a tourism destination and there has been a general failure to communicate some of the unique attractions that Botswana has to offer to potential incoming tourists. Successive advertising campaigns have amounted to little, with only a small budget allocated to national campaigns.
European tourists are a key growth area
Europeans are the fastest-growing group of incoming tourists, reflecting increased ad spend in northern Europe in particular, but also an increase in connecting flights to northern Europe, which allows tourists a lower cost and quicker route into the country. Botswana does not have strong colonial ties to any particular European country, despite being a British colony until 1964, but given the strong growth in incoming European tourists to neighbouring countries such as Angola and South Africa, it has been an obvious area for the country to focus on.
Liberalisation of the airways to encourage new airlines into Botswana
As a result of the Open Skies Policy, Botswana has negotiated 21 and signed 8 Bilateral Air Service Agreements. Air Botswana’s acquisition of new aircraft will enable it to expand into the SADC region and beyond. The airline has successfully completed all the requirements for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit. As a result IATA approved its re-registration as a member in June 2012. This will allow the national airline to forge alliances, as well as compete, with other international carriers
Lack of qualified staff impacts on growth of high-end hotels
A failure to provide appropriate training for hotel staff has meant that many of the high-end hotels in particular have struggled to provide high-end service for premium tourists. This has contributed to the difficulties that the country has had in portraying itself as a viable high-end tourist destination. Many of Botswana’s hotel workers are still training abroad and there is a clear need to invest more in domestic training.
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