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Tourism Strategic Planning In Botswana

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Tourism is a complex phenomenon that includes economic, socio-cultural, environmental and political factors. All these factors are changeable, the leading role is assigned to strategic planning, as the only possible forecasting of the future situation. Strategic planning acts as the basis for decision-making, and also can reduce the risk in making any managerial decisions. According to United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) sustainable tourism should: make optimal use of environmental resources, which form a key element of tourism development and preserve the natural heritage; respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, preserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values and promote intercultural understanding and tolerance; ensure long-term economic operations, socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are equitably distributed, including stable work and income opportunities and social services to host communities, and contributing to poverty alleviation.

Strategic tourism planning is a process or a tool aimed to optimize the benefits of tourism so that the result is a balance of the appropriate quality and quantity of supply with the proper level of demand. The strategic planning process should take into account economic, environmental, and socio-cultural factors within the area and their relationship to the overall sustainability for future needs of the organization. In effect, strategic tourism planning is a framework designed to provide direction for a tourism organization or destination. Strategic planning involves a process of preparing short- to long-term strategies to meet business and corporate objectives. Strategic planning critically examine strengths, weaknesses, future opportunities and needs; it indicate the potential strategic directions – objectives and key result areas; ensure a program of implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

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The Botswana is an example that has benefited from tourism strategic planning. Botswana, a landlocked country in Southern Africa is approximately 582,000 km2 in size, it borders South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Botswana government, in partnership with the European Union, commissioned the Botswana Tourism Development Programme to map out a development strategy for Botswana’s tourism industry, which was incorporated in the Botswana Tourism Master Plan in May 2000. Throughout the 1990s, Botswana’s tourism industry adopted a “high value-low volume” approach to lessen the negative impact of tourism on its environment. This policy resulted in the region developing only a few major tourist attractions, like the Okavango Delta. In 2001 the government of Botswana recognized that its industry of tourism depends on its wild nature. To diversify, the government decided to open less known areas, such as parks in the centre and in the south of the country and to add new products, such as cultural, historical and archaeological sights. The main task was in protecting the environment. Botswana chose to develop a National Eco-Tourism Strategy (NES) with the help of a number of different stakeholders, namely, the Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, the European Union, Botswana Tourism Board, and the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA). NES emphasized that the local population shall participate actively, the people of Botswana shall have a voice in resource management of the country. The new products developed in community shall answer social, cultural, economic and ecological requirements of the population, namely: to minimize negative social, cultural and ecological consequences; to increase participation and fair distributions of economic benefits for host communities and civil entrepreneurs; to increase income, education both visitors, and locals concerning importance of preserving natural and cultural resources, as well as deliver high-quality experience for tourists.

As the majority of advanced designs occurred in the remote areas, according to the plan of NES has to bring benefit to local communities, creating jobs and income. It, in turn, became the reason of social and economic differences in different areas of the country. The plan included need of tutoring of local population for the sphere of tourism, creation of trainings in the field of management of hotel. In a consequence the share of senior positions in the tourist enterprises belonging to employees of Botswana and the number of the enterprises operated by citizens increased.

Since implementing Botswana’s NES, further construction of tourist objects, including five-star hotels and resorts, airfields and road infrastructure has grown. The number of visitors, available beds in hotel rooms and the occupancy rate has increased. According to the statistics of Botswana, in 1995 tourist arrivals were 521,041. By 2010 this figure has grown to 1,628,340.

Botswana is qualified as a lower medium-income country. The country largely depends on the diamond trade and has used its foreign earnings over the past decades to develop and diversify the national economy. The future prospects of Botswana, especially compared with other countries in Africa, look promising. However the economy lags behind in big regions of the country, in particular, rural areas to the west from Botswana. Western Botswana area is known as limited potential of development area because of its long distances from markets and limited agricultural potential. Water resources and human resources are limited and the local economy is hardly developed. Adverse conditions demanded creative strategy and the new strategy of the state development. NES promoted growth of Community-Based Tourism. CBT are the projects belonging to communities or the joint businesses with a private sector based on fair participation of communities. These projects use only natural resources for improve standard of living of the community, and also for the economic growth of the region. To date, about 50 community-based organisations in various stages of development are involved in projects all over Botswana. For example, in the western part tourists buy handicrafts, such as traditional dances, storytelling and guided tours. Craft production is the main source of income for women in remote areas of Botswana.

To diversify tourist destinations of Botswana and to create more jobs, the Department of tourism closely cooperated with regions in projects in 2004-2008. The government supplemented the existing sights of the wild nature and reduced the current load of this resource. The attention was focused to such objects of heritage in Tsodilo Hills, Moremi Gorge, Matsieng, and Domboshaba, and cultural sites in Godikwa, Bushman Lodge, and D’Kar Bushman Camp. Ecotourism policies was developed, which increased the standard of living in Botswana and brought benefit to community in the region. Where it was possible, locals were employed for creation and management of travel business. National development plan (NDP) 8 (1997-2002) opened tourist offices in in SelebiPhikwe, Tsabong, Francistown, and Ghanzi to promote tourism products of Botswana in the region. During the period from 1997 to 2002 more personnel were attracted to personnel of Department of tourism.

Botswana differs from its neighbouring African states, they focusing on the internal location, offers products of adventure tourism, the untouched wild nature, culture, heritage, sandy dunes and camels. In Department of tourism there are representatives of the international marketing advancing tourist products and services of Botswana on the niche markets. Representatives were appointed in New York for coverage of North America, in Berlin, for entry into the markets of the German-speaking European countries and also in London for advance of Botswana to the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The profit from tourism in Botswana has grown in recent years. Taking advantage of its original rich resources of the country, the Botswana government was able to create the basis for the development of tourism. According to Botswana’s Tourism Master Plan 2000, he had to bring improvement in the quality of life of the population, increase citizen/community participation through training, as a result – create new jobs. Objectives had to be achieved in the sustainable way, using natural resources and protecting nature. Goals and objectives were achieved. Strategic planning led to an increase in employees in the tourism industry, helped develop infrastructure, created new jobs for local residents, and also develops the economy. Botswana still retains its unique nature and its peculiarity. Thanks to good planning, Botswana does not harm the wildlife of the country and is future-oriented.

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