Botswana launched a breath-taking spectacle at the recently concluded 14th ITB Berlin Convention. The Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama revealed that Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) has done well in putting the country on a world map. Botswana as Official Partner Country of ITB Berlin was given exclusive rights to the world's largest display of the tourism industry and, according to Minister Khama they ensured that the country was well marketed from the airport to the convention centre by even branding buses. The highlight of marketing the country’s tourism was the spectacular performance by the traditional troupe during the opening ceremony which left some of the guests almost in tears. Another area that surprised the delegates was the serving of traditional Tswana food, especially the mophane worm.
How did it happen?
Botswana is the first sub Saharan country to partner with ITB, which has been having the convention for over 50 years. Minister Khama revealed that they approached ITB to partner with them as they realised that it will help in promoting the country’s tourism as the 2017 theme was talking about sustainable tourism. “We had to pay 50,000 pounds which are equivalent of P500 000 in order to secure opportunity to partner with them and we paid the rest of the money,” said the excited Minister but was quick to add that it was worthwhile as they will reap more rewards. Asked how much they have spent on preparing for the event even branding and other logistics, Minister Khama said that it has cost BTO an arm and a leg. “I don’t have the full figures here but it is more than P20 million because branding is very expensive and taking into considering the contingent we took to Berlin,” he said. On how the country will benefit, Khama said that they expect the return of over US$300 million in terms of indirect and direct tourism. The 14th ITB Berlin Convention saw the number of delegates increasing significantly and at 28,000 delegates (an increase of 7.7 per cent) participation in the 14th ITB Berlin Convention reached a new record. More than 10,000 exhibiting companies from 184 countries and regions displayed their products and services on 1,092 stands to visitors.