Continued failure to review old-fashioned policies and legislative instruments has contributed to the lack of diversification in the tourism sector, Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) executive committee chairperson Dr. Thapelo Matsheka has said.
In a speech he delivered at the 2018 HATAB annual conference in the resort township of Maun last Friday, Matsheka said there has been challenges in the tourism sector stiffing diversification and preventing Botswana economy from moving forward. forward.
“I would like to urge us to speed up the revision of policies and legislative instruments that have either been overtaken by time, or are now impediments to the development of the tourism industry,” Matsheka remarked.
According to Matsheka, among these instruments impeding tourism growth are the Tourism Policy of 1991, Tourism Master-Plan of 2000, Wildlife and National Parks Act, Environment Impact Assessment Act and Regulations as well as other related documents.
“These I must emphasize, need to be modernized as they are the necessary tools needed to enable the industry to meet customer expectations in the modern world of pristine tourism,” he noted
The former Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) Chief Executive Officer explained that continued failure to bring old instruments in line with modern and new ways of doing business has definitely contributed the slow growth of the tourism sector.
“It ultimately resulted in the lack of diversification of our product offering and in the ultimate, slowed the necessary job creation opportunities,” said Matsheka, adding that the country’s tourism sector has got a potential of creating a substantial number of job opportunities.
He said HATAB remains committed to continued and concerted efforts to promote and sustain increased private sector participation in the tourism sector.
With more than 350 members, HATAB is by far the largest private sector movement in the hospitality and tourism industry.
Through citizen participation, Matsheka said HATAB is driven by its vision of turning tourism into the engine of growth for the development and diversification of the economy from the then and current mineral backbone.
It is thus imperative, Matsheka noted, that concerted efforts are made to bring the above to date, and be able to empower those that have the mandate to attract investors into tourism, with the necessary tools to do so.
In his inaugural speech soon after being sworn in on April 1 2018, President Mokgweetsi Masisi underscored the role and importance of meaningful citizen participation in the tourism industry and cluster development.