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BTO launch Khawa Dune Challenge and Cultural festival

Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture (MYSC) and Botswana Motor Sport (BMS) will on Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th May 2016 host the Khawa Dune Challenge & Cultural Festival in Khawa, a village approximately 167 km southwest of Tsabong in the Kgalagadi District.

The event, now in its fifth year, will feature:
· Quad and motor bike challenges,
· Quad and motor bike fun rides,
· Professional Sky-Dive demonstrations,
· Air Balloon Rides
· Fun Camel rides,
· Cultural performances and exhibitions and sale of arts and crafts from the Kgalagadi area.
· Other activities to be found at the event include the following sporting activities; soccer, dodge-ball, netball and sand dune racing
· Sand Dunes Monster trucks
· Contemporary Festival (Featuring Mahempe & Wizards of the Desert)

"As a cultural tourism event, the Khawa cultural festival is part of an effort to diversify the tourism product offered during the Dune challenge in terms of providing entertainment and running exhibitions alongside the other activities. The cultural festival objectives among others to provide full community participation through their music and dance, enhance cultural exchange and provide commercial space for the Khawa community to sell their cultural goods, products and services – i.e. artifacts, leather products, food etc," observed Thabo Dithebe, Chief executive Officer for Botswana Tourism Organization(BTO).

He said, The Festival commences on Friday night with what is referred to as Polka Night. This evening is mainly dedicated to the polka dance, and in the main it is groups from Kgalagadi that participate in this event, with one or two exceptions of groups from elsewhere in the country to spice the night. The festival will continue on Saturday night featuring all the performing groups that performed on Friday night, but this time there will also be contemporary groups performing."

This year once again the festival will have an exhibition running alongside the other activities. This will be done mainly for purposes of providing a place for people to purchase local products and merchandise if they so wish.

The Khawa Dune Challenge & Cultural Festival is one of the tourism product diversification initiatives aimed at diversifying the tourism product and stimulating domestic tourism market demand. Over the past four years since its inception in 2012 the event has been growing in leaps and bounds with additional activities introduced every year to make it more appealing.

The total number of spectators who attended the event in 2014 was estimated at around 3 700 and the number almost doubled to 6 000 in 2015. The number of participants in the challenge increased from 44 in 2014 to 67 in 2015. BTO carries out a Socio – economic survey every year and the results continue to suggest positive socio-economic gains on the livelihoods of the community of Khawa and surrounding places, before and after the event.

Ten (10) local youths have been trained on how to ride quads and motorbikes through the Khawa Motorsport Youth Academy program and have been participating in the Academy challenge category of the race over the years. The youth will hopefully evolve into professional riders and earn a living by participating in national and international motorsport games. A more comprehensive impact evaluation study would however be ideal probably after ten years to provide a real picture of the socio-economic impact of the event.

"We take responsibility for the health and happiness of our people. We have had partnerships with BTO for a number of years. This collaboration has helped expose our artists to different parts of the country," said Kago Ramokate, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture. He said, ""event exposed people to Khawa to see what people are doing and the way they live."

The Khawa Dune Challenge continues to yield positive outcome in terms of spectator turnout and level of satisfaction. The event continues to contribute to the development of local communities, providing support to those who pursue business opportunities by significantly boosting their sales. It has made a key contribution to cultural development of the host communities by providing them with a platform to showcase their cultural dance and song through Polka.

Khawa village has secured a prominent place on the map and has gained recognition as one of the tourism attractions in Botswana. BTO has developed a land use plan for the village and has assisted the village trust to secure a campsite plot for use in generating sustainable income for the community.

 

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