BTO readies for improved Tourism Expo

The Botswana Tourism Organization(BTO) will host the 3rd Annual Botswana Travel and Tourism Expo(BTTE) 2015 in Kasane with operators from the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Australia participating to help further the global footprint of Botswana tourism.

"BTTE 2015 will host workshops for the local tourism business with a view to develop the local operators with trending topical tourism issues and this year, we are looking at tourism and e-commerce," said Thato Dithebe, Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of the Botswana Tourism Organization(BTO).

He said, "The workshops will be inclusive of inspirational topics such as social media, the importance of domestic travel and packaging for international markets so that the local industry can be empowered to take advantage of the booming industry and to remain globally competitive."

Botswana tourism received a shot in the arm recently when the world revered Lonely Planet listed the country as the top must visit destination for 2016. This listing has created some interest in the global travel industry with a lot of attention drawn to the country.

The country which embraces high value low volume tourism in eco-sensitive areas like the Okavango Delta, traditionally enjoyed a peak season during winter although this seasonality is now a thing of the past with the success in selling Botswana ensuring seasonality is broken.

Botswana's major product remains the wildlife and wilderness with other growth areas emerging such as heritage tourism and adventure tourism.

"To ensure we are ready for the positive impacts of this listing, the local industry workshop will focus on how to package for various markets, just as a refresher so as to ensure the industry takes advantage of this opportunity," said Dithebe.

He said, "We have deliberately adopted a very strong tour operator based strategy, as it has longevity and through the strategy we are able to sustain our presence in the market. Consumer based strategies are also employed from time to rime but have to be done selectively as we operate on a show string budget and may not always have the financial resources top cover all consumer strategies. This is particularly also because consumer engagement may at times require mainstream media engagement which requires aggressive and consistent direct engagement, which is quite costly."

BTO has engaged the services of a company called Interface International to optimize its presence in Germany and the German speaking market who revealed that travellers do not stop travelling when struck by catastrophes like terrorist attacks opting to go to niche markets where the threat of such action is greatly reduced.

Karin Zwiers, Managing Directors of Interface International, said "The BTTE is growing year to year within the Botswana market and outside. It is a fixed point in agenda of international operators. This issue would not arise if the event was not a success."

She said, "We need to now start creating products to boost tourism."


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