By Itumeleng Kgajane
GABORONE, Nov 30 (NNN-SABC) — South African tourism companies are considering forming joint ventures with their counterparts in Botswana.
The two countries both have tourism as one of the pillars of their economies, with both also having the Big Five animals — the elephant, lion, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo and African leopard.
Scores of South African companies are attending the Global Expo Botswana, which aims to create a platform for businesses in Botswana to form joint ventures. It is also an opportunity for the landlocked country to diversify its economy, with tourism as one of the main sectors considered.
Dennis Ramokgau, a park manager at the Mokolodi Game Reserve, which is one of the known tourist attraction sites in Botswana, says his game reserve registers high volumes of tourists who want to explore Botswana, and see beautiful wild animals.
Game farms and hotels are said to be the main drivers in Botswana’s tourism sector.
“We’ve got a collection of animals, with which we do game drives. We’ve got activities like giraffe tracking, where people go and follow the tracks of giraffes until they find them. Seasonally we get quite a lot of people coming from South Africa mostly during school vacations,” adds Ramokgau.
The Botswana Invest and Trade Centre encourages local companies to expand beyond the country’s borders. It says that since laws have been relaxed to allow for this, it facilitates the process and fast-tracks it.
BITC’s Directoro of Operations, Dipopego Tsheko, says the country is looking at tourism to help drive the economic diversification process. Botswana’s economic currently is heavily reliant on diamond mining.
“It is not very difficult for our neighbours to get into Botswana. They don’t need visas to come into Botswana. We get a lot of tourists from South Africa.”
Botswana is known for its beautiful nature reserves and love for animals, most of which roam the northern part of the country. Its law enforcement is also tough on poaching. — NNN-SABC