Tourism in Botswana in the Last 50 Years: A Review

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Lesego S Stone
Tibabo M Stone
Joseph E Mbaiwa


Using the concepts of ecotourism and sustainable tourism, this paper reviews tourism development in Botswana since the country’s independence in 1966. Findings from this review indicate that the tourism industry has facilitated a number of opportunities for local communities and has contributed to the country’s economy. Tourism has stimulated the development of a variety of allied infrastructure and facilities, such as hotels, lodges and camps, airport and airstrips. Through its backward linkages, wholesale and retail businesses have also been established to offer various goods to the tourist industry. Tarred roads and other communication facilities have also been developed in Botswana. The tourism sector has also facilitated the creation of employment, local economic development and poverty alleviation, and contribution to biodiversity conservation efforts. These were facilitated by measures that have been put in place such as the adoption of policies and community participation models of development that created an enabling environment for tourism to develop and become one of the country’s main economic drivers.  On the other hand, the findings of this review reveal challenges that the industry continues to face such as the enclave nature of tourism, lack of tourism product diversification, community businesses misappropriation and mismanagement of funds, and lack of relevant community’s marketing and promotional tools. Policy implications are also discussed.

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