HATAB’s CEO Lilly Rakorong Speaks on Botswana’s Domestic Tourism Market

The Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana represents all sectors of the hospitality and tourism industry. Due to reduced international demand for travel as a consequence of the restrictions on travel owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, Botswana’s tourism operators have come up new rates that target the domestic market.

HATAB Chief Executive Officer, Lily Rakorong speaks to Echo Travel and Tourism about this emerging trend.

Has the current plan to grow domestic tourism worked? Have visitor numbers increased since the end of the lockdown?

Domestic tourism has been partially opened with strict social distancing rules and a lot of Batswana are still warming up to the idea of travelling within the country.

Have the discounted rates advertised by the industry been in line with expectations for domestic travelers?

It is extremely important to understand the customer’s needs and expectation when pricing a package and all the packages have been priced according to quality of the product and season. However we can only be able to measure if the rates advertised are in line with the expectations for domestic traveler after they have actually bought the product and experienced it.

There is education tourism to learn about nature and then there is luxury tourism, which one has been aimed more at the domestic market and do you believe this approach is better?

People travel to be truly engaged in an activity and domestic tourism is an educational process about the environment since it plays an important role in influencing public viewpoints. The intention is to approach domestic market holistically in order to cater for everyone.

Will more education on different methods to experience Botswana’s tourism aside from luxury travel, for example backpacking and mobile tours become necessary to hopefully increase the numbers?

To harness domestic tourism potential, more efforts are required locally to create more awareness about our tourist destinations and exploring niche segments to increase numbers of travelers. Various tourism products including example cited will be explored.

Will the domestic market become more important over time?

Domestic market has always been important and it will always be, even though it only comes visible when international arrivals decline.

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