Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) started 2017 on a celebratory note after it was nominated for the World Tourism Awards. BTO has been shortlisted as one of the finalists for the 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards in the destination category towards Botswana’s efforts in sustainable tourism development.
Desert and Delta Safaris – a Botswana-based operator has also been shortlisted as a finalist in the people category. Announcing the shortlisting Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama expressed his excitement about the awards. They recognise the achievements by tourism practices in the fields of environment responsibility, cultural heritage, and in creating social and economic benefits to local people and communities who play a critical role in the success of tourism within their destination. The nomination of Botswana was announced at the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Headquarters in London.
Tshekedi said with WTTC having a total of 140 members, Botswana is happy to be shortlisted because this took place after WTTC together with the Oxford University did a country report on Botswana after an analysis of how the sector is performing with recommendation on what needs to be done. “The destination award for which Botswana is shortlisted is about the places where tourism takes place. The award recognises a region, state, city, town or national park that is working to create greatest sustainability through its Travel and Tourism sector,” he said. He said the award shows a great achievement by the tourism sector. “Botswana entered the competition and won the award in 2010, and looking at what we have achieved so far we believe we can be able to get it again in 2016,” he said. The other two finalists with Botswana are City of Bydgoszcz in Northern Poland and Pallas-Yllasunturi Parks Wildlife in Finland.
Financial Director of Desert and Delta Safaris Rodney Gerrard said they are very happy about the award which they decided to apply for in October last year. “Operating in a delta is not easy because we have to generate our own water and electricity other than when you are in a place where you have access to those services from Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) and Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) so we had to empower many Batswana to be able to do all those jobs,” he said. Gerrard said they have 100% locals working for the company.
“We have a partnership with Botswana Accountancy College where we take our employees to train in Tourism and Hospitality Management, and that shows how devoted we are to exceptional human resource management,’ he said. He said their nomination proves that there is evidence of significant investment in creating and maintaining training and staff development, staff training in sustainability and support for direct local employment as well as local supply chains. The other two finalists are The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriot Foundation’s China Hospitality Education Initiative (CHEI) and Streets International, Hoi An in Vietnam.