Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) and the Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture (MYSC) this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see them collaborate in the promotion of sports tourism and culture.
Ruth Maphorisa, the Permanent Secretary at the ministry told a media briefing this week that the MoU would create strong synergies where arts, culture and sport could be used to diversify the economy.
She said her ministry together with BTO had a common mandate of ensuring that both internal and external clients understood the culture and tourism of Botswana.
“We want to develop joint plans because they will assist as we lobby for funding which could bear more fruit,” she said, adding that one of the objectives of the collaboration was to generate better event funding opportunities.
Maphorisa said the relocation of the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) to Botswana was an opportunity for Batswana to utilise the downstream opportunities that the exercise presents and that their partnership with BTO also stands to benefit.
BTO Chief Executive Officer, Myra Sekgororoane said since tourism was heavily dependent on wildlife, there was need to develop culture to diversify it.
Sekgororoane said the two parties intended to work together to come up with a national calendar of events. The signing ceremony took place just a few days before the Khawa Dunes Challenge and Cultural Festival that is slated for this weekend.
Sekgororoane said the event that is also expected to become a seminal date in Botswana’s sports and tourism calender was a family oriented event involving a quad bike challenge through Khawa village sand dunes, motor bike dune challenge and cultural activities showcasing the cultures of Bakgalagadi, Basarwa and other peoples in the area, as well as camel rides and races.
She noted that the event was one of its kind in Botswana, combining motor sport and culture and adding a new dimension to product development in the country. “Of particular importance is the introduction of camel activities as part of the event to add value and ensure the events sustainability.
The Camel Park in Tsabong, which is nearing completion, wiill enhance the camel component of the event,” she said.
She said the event would unleash the tourism potential of Khawa and Kgalagadi District and stimulate business opportunities for the Khawa community, including direct income that would accrue to local communities developmental initiatives and increased sales in businesses in the vicinity of Tsabong, Khawa during the weekend of the event.
Sekgororoane said the event would also help promote familiarity of arts, crafts and cultural dances in the area and enable packaging for consumption by the market. About forty riders are expected to participate in the challenge.