Friday, 24 September 2021

In Leisure

Opportunities for Destinations Management Companies in Botswana

There are many opportunities for Destinations Management businesses in the tourism industry in Botswana, creating unique travel and tour packages that can be consumed by local, regional, and international visitors. Botswana is a tourist destination that is amongst the top twenty in Southern Africa, being the host of places like the Okavango Delta, and more.

Destination Management Company is a professional services company with local knowledge, experience and resources, dedicated to the design and implementation of events, activities, tourism, transportation and project logistics. There are few destination management agencies. 

A destination management company is often a partnership of professional consultants, representatives, marketers, and architects who can assist clients in refining their strategy and developing a plan to meet the objective. They are found in the field of tourism, events, meetings and conventions.

Botswana’s tourist market has been characterized by a “high value (cost), low volume” philosophy.  High-end tour operators and hotels tend to dominate the market.  The GoB is interested in expanding tourism services throughout the country with mid-range offerings, especially by citizen-owned tourism companies. In order to improve the tourism potential of Botswana, Botswana Government is investing in upgrading infrastructure and developing mass-market tourist services, including targeted marketing campaigns to develop a new audience. The GoB is looking for ways to expand business in the tourism sector. Botswana Government has put aside a budget for promoting tourism by other non-government organisations (NGOs).

Top destinations in Botswana, that include Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Moremi Game Reserve, Gaborone, Makadikadi Basin, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Maun, Kasane, Nxai Pan National Park, Moremi, Francistown, Linyanti, Khwai, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Ghanzi, Palapye, Chief’s Island, Khutse Game Reserve, Nata, Savuti, Serowe, Shakawe, Gweta, Selebi Phikwe, Khutse, Xakanaxa, Lake Ngami, Jwaneng, Mabuasehube, Lobatse, Deception Valley, Kanye, Molepolole, Mahalapye, Letlehakane, Tshabong, Kang, Okavango Panhandle, Vumbura, Savuti Marsh, Moremi, Gumare, Orapa, Mochudi, Ncamasere, Gabane, and many more.

Botswana Tourism Marketing Committee (BTM) was established in September, 2016. It is a standing committee of the GoB that will be responsible for developing strategies and plans for marketing Botswana to its stakeholders, including governments, international organisations and investors. 

Maintaining good relations with the GoB is critical for the BTM to ensure that all programs are part of Botswana’s strategy to promote tourism as well as ensuring that Botswana’s sensitivities are addressed. Local businesses need to innovate with the changes in the market and adapt themselves to more   complex activity, more sophisticated products and a more independent market approach. Some of them   took over the role of incoming tour operators, specializing in a specific destination and creating products for unknown customers.

Destinations Management Company Start-Ups are a necessity for not just empowerment of Batswana, but also for community development itself, as locals start to participate in the global market of tourism. 

Take Kgalagadi, or Kalahari, as it is popularly known for example. This is a destination that needs more destinations management companies.

The semi-arid terrain of Kgalagadi accounts for 84% of Botswana's land area and dominates most of the country. Kgalagadi (Kalahari) is rich in natural resources and refutes the traditional notion that deserts are wasteland, without vegetation, and useless. These include vast grasslands, which not only nurture wild animal populations, but also a growing herd of cattle (about 2 million heads), support the country’s third largest livestock industry, and mineral wealth, namely diamonds, which promote peace people have continued to achieve amazing economic growth in the past 35 years.

Imagine a Tswana owned Destinations Management company selling tour packages for regional tourists, just as international ones.

Kgalagadi is a beautiful strange place, usually hidden, with an astonishing diversity of flora and fauna. Its vegetation varies greatly and supports various types of savannas, namely grasses, shrubs, and trees. The Kgalagadi landscape usually appears as a grassy plain, dotted with low bushes, dotted with trees or strips of trees, which are usually found on ridges of sand. Although the first impression of newcomers may be "the same," the basically flat surface of the desert has subtle topographic interruptions, including channels, fossil valleys, dune features, and pan depressions.

After a good rainy season, the desert has undergone devastating changes, covered with lush green grass and flooded watersheds - this is the source of human and animal rebirth and rejuvenation. Many desert animals, including springboks, antelopes, antelopes, and even Kalahari lions, are highly adapted to their semi-arid conditions and can live without water, but if there is water, they will drink. Antelopes obtain water by eating at night and early in the morning (when the plants regain moisture), eating succulent plants (such as wild watermelon or wild cucumber), and staying dormant during hot days to keep their body hydrated.

In this world of Kalahari, imagine a Destination Management Company (DMC) providing regional tourists with an extensive array of services including expertise and knowledge on various events, event coordination, tours, trips, and locations to which you are choosing to travel to.

There is space in Botswana Tourism, especially in destinations management, but this requires a willing Batswana operator, that is willing to network with regional people to attract them to visit the Kalahari. There is plenty to talk about Botswana. Throw away the fear.

Destinations Management Companies are being called on by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), to kick start the reengagement of economies and consumers, as they create events for development and business, that are both business and pleasure for the participants. Event Management is an area of destinations management those African economies such as Botswana can tap into and benefit, because most travel is business, and DMCs are at the centre of this mix. 

Inclusivity is the new normal in many industries, and the World Tourism Organisation has a model for that. The Global Report on Inclusive Tourism Destinations: Model and Success Stories presents a model for inclusive tourism which refers to the capacity of tourism to integrate disadvantaged groups so that they can participate in, and benefit from, tourism activity. The report showcases how tourism can function as a vehicle for sustainable development and the reduction of poverty and inequality in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The report highlights the need to foster discussion on and examine new approaches to inclusive tourism in order to drive long-term sustainability in the sector. The Model for inclusive tourism destinations presented in this Global Report is a formula for practical and realistic public action that can be applied to different types of destinations. It is a path towards inclusion that is adaptable, modular and scalable, and facilitates the transformation of tourism models towards socially and economically inclusive models.

At the core of the development goals by the UN, and member states, is inclusivity, and the Government of Botswana, must create a playing ground that benefits locals in the industry – this also includes Destinations Management Companies.

Sources: BTO, UNWTO, Trade.Gov

Cabanga Media Group is a media and business services company with interests in Botswana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.