Although the tourism industry still has challenges, its former minister has been saluted for making changes and decisions that have seen an increase in tourists’ arrivals.
In an effort to appreciate the contribution that Kitso Mokaila made to the industry, Cresta, hosted the former minister at a dinner where tribute was paid.
The event was also meant to welcome the new tourism minister, Tshekedi Khama.
“Mokaila has been the tourism minister for eight years and he is the one who conceived the idea of Pitso, and the creation of Botswana Tourism Organisation,” said Cresta’s Managing Director, Tawanda Makhaya
He however said the industry has not really lost Mokaila as he is going to a ministry that is linked to tourism.
For his part, Mokaila said the country’s tourism industry was still undiversified and reliant on the northern parts of the country.
Mokaila also prides himself for ridding the industry of racism which was a major issue before he became a minister. “In 2005 when I visited camps, it became obvious to me there was a problem,” said Mokaila who is now the Minister of Minerals Energy and Water Resources.
“Racism remains a key issue in the industry with some facilities previously reserved for white people, but now when visiting camps one sees that there is balance,” he said.
Mokaila said his view was that tourism must serve the public interest, not the narrow individual interests.
The usually charismatic minister also revealed that the tourism strategy is to diversify the product and attract more tourists.
The current strategy is to see tourism based on sports and culture, events and dams. Projects earmarked to drive diversification are Tshabong eco-tourism project, cultural village in Kasane and non consumptive tourism project in Tswapong Hills.
Some of the projects coming to fruition that the public may not be aware of include the development of eco-tourism project in Tshabong, the development of a cultural village in Kasane and non consumptive tourism project in Tswapong Hills.