Home » Africa: Association berates Botswana’s Tourism Minister over unilateral decision affecting sector

Africa: Association berates Botswana’s Tourism Minister over unilateral decision affecting sector

by Atqnews
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The Chairman of Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) Dr Thapelo Matsheka has berated the country’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism over unilateral decisions affecting the tourism sector and the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO.)
He said the minister Tshekedi Khama has ruined his ministry and there is urgent need for reforms at the ministry and its parastatal before the situation worsens.
According to a report by weekendpost.co.bw, Dr Matsheka while giving welcome remarks complained about the minister’s  lack of consultation with the HATAB saying “we have seen in the past decisions taken without minimal consultation with HATAB. As partners, we view this situation as untenable.”
Dr Matsheka cited the introduction of Tourism Development Levy, increase for participation fees at travel fares, and discontinuation of participation by BTO at regional markets without consultation with the industry. Further, Dr Matseka said BTO, does not consult with the industry in identifying new markets. He also slammed Khama’s ministry for the withdrawal from Regional Tourism Organisation Of Southern Africa, without consultation. Despite that Botswana is current sitting chairperson of RETOSA.
Further Dr Matseka blamed BTO for abandoning its core mandate of marketing Botswana as a tourism destination and instead becoming an events management company. His said the emphasis on hosting events instead of marketing Botswana has resulted in BTO overcrowding the private sector. “BTO mandate is to promote and facilitate the private operators not to compete with them like the case of Gaborone Air Show versus Matsieng Air Show.”
Dr Matsheka roasted Khama for taking forever to appoint a substantive Chief Executive Officer at Botswana Tourism Organisation since the ouster of Brian Dithebe. Dr Matseka also added that there is a need to develop a tourism development strategy to aid the development of the tourism sector in Botswana.
“It is not enough to create temporary jobs with a series of events across the country and celebrate those events as having been successful. In the absence of policy framework this leads to a situation where BTO and min9stry are now event management companies.” Dr Matseka said the tourism policy of 1990 is out dated and needs to be modernized, tourism materplan of 2000 also needs a review, wildlife and National Parks Act and Environmental Impact Assessment Act also need a review.

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