OUR MAN IN BOTSWANA
Our Tourism Partner, Jim Fletcher has been working as the tourism economist in a small team assembled by UNWTO undertaking the Phase 1, Situation Analysis stage, of the Sustainable Tourism Master Plan for the Kasane-Kazungula area in North Eastern Botswana. This article explores the work they are undertaking.
This location includes Chobe National Park and the Chobe River which together represent one of Botswana’s richest wildlife areas and it is where both the Chobe and Zambezi rivers join and the point at which Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe meet.
Kasane-Kazungula has been a growing wildlife tourism destination for some years and its one hour drive time from the Victoria Falls draws day trip visitors in addition to the traditional safari lodge overnight market .
There is a vision to build the location into a larger tourism hub for the region, supported by a newly rebuilt international airport and the very recent opening of the Kazungula Bridge over the Zambezi, connecting Botswana with Zambia, which unblocks a major bottleneck for commercial traffic driving between South Africa’s ports and the important mining centres in Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Jim evaluated the status of tourism statistics collection, analysis, and publication in Kasane and Botswana generally, identifying weaknesses, training needs and institutional shortcomings.
He also made an initial assessment of the scale and economic impact of tourism expenditure, examined the strength of the local tourism value chain and reviewed Government’s national and regional investment policies and the possibility for the introduction of various investment incentives for developing tourism in the region.
The Phase 1 work was undertaken remotely from home base but the indicative plan for commencing work on Phase 2 currently expects the consulting team to be travelling to Botswana in February 2021.