In its quest to explore different avenues of marketing Botswana Tourism product to the world, The Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) facilitated for 44 local tourism companies to exhibit at the recently ended Annual Tourism Indaba in Durban, South Africa.
Speaking from the SADC Hall at the ICC, Durban where Botswana shared the platform with countries like Angola , Zimbabwe and Zambia, to name a few.
The BTO Business Development Manager, Obenne Mbaakanyi said she was satisfied with the level of trade and networking which saw the Botswana stand which was simply themed “Under the Botswana Sky” buzzing with activity from day one.
“The response has been good and positive and so far we have talked, done business and networked with visitors from as far as Brazil. The challenge however is to acquire more space to accommodate more companies next time” Mbaakanyi said on day two of the four- day show. Although only 44 tourism companies could be housed under the BTO umbrella and stand , there were about 100 Botswana based companies that exhibited at Indaba., as many made their own arrangements to be part of the show, Mbaakanyi explained.
Meanwhile the Botswana Development Corporation Limited, (BDC,) an agency for commercial and industrial development, which exhibited for the first time at the tourism show piece expressed great satisfaction and excitement with the results.
Brimming with excitement, BDC Principal Public Affairs Manager, Boitshwarelo Lebang said the response and interest showed in the services offered by the BDC has been amazing.
“We are definitely getting unprecedented value out of this exposure,” she said as she wrote down contact details of potential clients to be followed up. Currently BDC is on a drive to lure more investors in the tourism and agriculture sectors.
On the second day, the BDC staff had already had about eight meetings with serious potential investors through the Indaba matchmaking facility and had seen over 20 visitors to their stand on each day.
Another satisfied BTO client, Timothy Race of Africa Insight, which has as its prime offerings, the most popular literary inspired getaway in Africa, The N0! Ladies Detective Agency tours based on writer McCall Smith’s internationally acclaimed best selling book series, The Number 1 ladies Detective agency described the response to his product as ‘fantastic’
“It was our first time to attend so we did not know what to expect but BTO have been a wonderful host and good facilitators offering us lot of support. So far we have met with agents from Japan to Sweden, said the man who has been successfully putting destination Gaborone on the travel and tourism map since 1999 by attracting a sizeable number of international tourists from as far as Australia and Finland which is the latest country to be hit by the Mma-Ramotswe bug to Botswana.
The Tourism Indaba which ran for four days from May 12, to May 15, 2012 is the biggest tourism exhibition in Africa with more than 4000 exhibitors and at least 20 000 visitors a day.