This report covers Botswana’s tourism industry, which is largely centred around game reserves, wildlife, and wilderness tourism. The report includes country information, latest available tourism statistics, descriptions of major tourist destinations, players and corporate and government actions, and influencing factors including the economic environment and the effect of coronavirus on the sector. There are profiles of 10 companies including the relatively large tourism and hotel groups such as Chobe, Cresta Marakanelo and Wilderness, and tour operators such as Gondwana Travel & Tours, Kalahari Breeze Safaris and Ngamiland Explorations.
The Tourism Industry in Botswana
The Botswana government identified tourism as a sector that could contribute to the diversification of the economy from its reliance on commodities. Tourism contributed 13.1% of Botswana’s GDP in 2019, increasing from 6.3% in 2000. In 2019, travel and tourism accounted for 8.9% of total employment in Botswana. The country’s principal tourist attractions are its game reserves, wildlife, and wilderness.
Botswana has maintained strict coronavirus regulations for the movement of tourists, resulting in operational and financial challenges for the tourism industry. Tourism marketing has traditionally been focused on international tourists, but domestic marketing has been explored since the pandemic. The country’s tourism products are largely wildlife-based and highly priced, leaving many citizens with little option but to travel outside the country.
In Botswana, positive environmental impacts include raised awareness and promotion of ecotourism and sustainable tourism. Destinations including the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert have initiatives that promote environmentally-friendly activities and resources. Environmental concerns have been raised in the northern part of Botswana, particularly in the Okavango Delta, including noise, land, water, and air pollution. Over the years, there has been an increased number of vehicles including mobile safaris, private cars, and suppliers of goods.