Botswana hopes FOCAC to help promote nation’s tourism development

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GABORONE, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) — Botswana’s participation at the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing summit has got all the ingredients of promoting its tourism development, different players in the tourism industry said Thursday.

Government officials and private players in the southern African country’s tourism industry expressed high optimism that FOCAC will promote tourism development.

Thabang Botshoma, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism said the recent achievements Botswana made at FOCAC will play a significant role in tourism development.

“FOCAC contained a lot of ingredients that spoke of the hope and mutual benefit between China and Africa,” said Botshoma.

According to Botshoma, Botswana is quite excited about the outcome of the interactions during the Beijing Summit held on Sept. 3-4.

“As a country, we are really looking forward to now implementing the agreements that were signed during the summit. And it is our hope that the country’s tourism industry will benefit immensely from the summit,” he said.

During a state visit to China, President Mokgweetsi Masisi agreed with his Chinese counterpart to extend a loan for rail and road infrastructure.

According to Masisi, the grant will be used to construct road connectivity in the northern part of the country so as to better promote the development of tourist attraction areas.

“This is a move in the right direction for the country’s tourism industry,” Botshoma told Xinhua in a telephone interview. Botshoma said tourist arrivals decreased by almost 3 percent in 2017 when compared to arrivals in 2016.

“A total arrival in 2017 for the purposes of tourism is 484, 717 while arrivals in 2016 were 499, 259 showing a decline of 3 percent,” explained Botshoma. He said investigations made by the government to establish why tourist arrivals are on a decline suggested that poor road network in the northern part of the country is the major contribution.

The Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) spokesperson Keitumetse Setlang said her organization took advantage of FOCAC and marketed the country’s tourist attraction sites in the country.

According to Setlang, BTO will be going back to China for marketing purposes in order to take full advantage of China’s tourist market.

Mothusi Tshukudu, an entrepreneur in the tourism industry and was part of the delegation, said he is quite happy about the outcome of the summit.

“I am personally looking forward that my business will derive benefits from the FOCAC summit,” said Tshukudu, who runs a tour guide company in Maun, some 900km northwest of the country’s capital city.

He said the agreements achieved at the summit will benefit Botswana immensely if the government fully implements them. Tshukudu said Botswana is a beautiful country with sights such as the magnificent Okavango Delta and the Chobe River.

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