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The Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) has rubbished the notion that has been doing round in the tourism industry that they are expected to be serving the same interest, they are foes with the Botswana Guides Association (BOGA).
HATAB describes itself as the voice of the travel sector in the tourism industry while BOGA says it promotes the development of the local guides, tour and safari operators mainly the small scale ones. There has always been a perception that the two associations are competitors and that government even leans much more to HATAB than it does with BOGA.
At times BOGA accused the state of sabotage as they believed government officials’ had a tendency of snubbing their annual general meetings, while attending those of HATAB.
Speaking during a media meet and greet session in Maun recently HATAB’s Public Affairs & Communications Manager, Tebogo Ramakgathi assured that they are in no competition with BOGA. In fact, Ramakgathi noted that there are times when the two associations speak collaboration in order to have one voice on pertinent issues affecting both as players in the tourism industry.
“There is no animosity between the two in fact you will find that when we have serious issues to deal with, such as that of park fees, that is when we engage and present a united voice to government, and the latter is able to listen,” she buttressed.
However, Ramakgathi has stressed that the two associations have separates mandates and constitutions which they should abide by. She added that HATAB and BOGA even have separate campsites noting that whoever is willing to register with either one of the associations is free to do so and become a member so as to have access to the sites.
“Most of our membership is long term, so we do not decide for you as an entity but it is your choice as to where you want to go based on where you see value, hence I am saying there is no friction between the two,” she stressed.
Under their membership HATAB has 350 operators and 8 sub sector ranging from the airline, air charter, mobile safaris, hotels camps and lodges, and conservation and management, tour operators and services. Ramakgathi has indicated that from their membership, Maun is the one that has majority of members who includes air charter, mobile safaris, camps and lodges among others.