The Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana of Botswana (HATAB) Conference 2024 is Maun this week. The HATAB Annual Conference is held under the theme: “Advancing towards a world class tourism investment climate to create job.”

The President of the Republic of Botswana His Excellency Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi will officially open this year’s conference. The Conference is a stakeholder engagement platform which provides members with an opportunity to engage with policy makers, business leaders and other key stakeholders to discuss issues that help promote ease of doing business in the Hospitality and Tourism Sector. The big question is: How can we describe our SERVICE to customers in the Hospitality and Tourism industry.

Botswana is not only regarded as one of the most exclusive safari destinations in Africa, but one of the most remarkable wilderness areas on earth. Botswana is boasting of vast areas of protected wilderness, pristine landscapes, and a rich wildlife diversity especially in the Okavango and Chobe regions. The tourism industry plays an important role in Botswana’s economy, in terms of its contribution to employment, GDP, and the generation of foreign exchange.

Tourism-related services are labour-intensive, with numerous links to other major segments of the economy, such as transport, cultural and creative services, or financial and insurance services. This demonstrates that tourism has many players and stakeholders. As such, stakeholders involved or associated with the tourism industry should provide a SERVICE to tourists with professionalism and respect. Botswana has the needed tourism attractions that attracts international tourists especially wildlife-based tourism activities. Therefore, what is left is for Botswana to provide the required and necessary SERVICE to visitors and create the many jobs desired.

Tourism is a service-intensive industry, and its fundamental product is tourist experience at the destination. In this regard, the tourism service of a destination involves the participation of multiple stakeholders. The tourism industry is characterized by numerous actors, such as tourism customers, service providers, other economic stakeholders, and regulatory bodies which interact with each other.  m

All these stakeholders should ensure that appropriate service is provided to our customers and guests. We should be mindful that there are six common characteristics of tourist destinations which can attract tourists, these include: appeal, comfort, accessibility, tourism resources and facilities, as well as transport. In the event we fail to meet the demands of any one of these six requirements, we run the risk of compromising the good name of Botswana as a tourism destination. This is something which all of us involved in the tourism industry should avoid with the hope of protecting the good name and reputation of Botswana as good tourism destination.

The level of customer service in Botswana was described as extremely low and poor. Poor customer service is thus one of the major challenges contributing to the sluggish economic growth in Botswana. Every minute, there is a customer who is complaining about poor service in Botswana, and this happens both in private and public sector. The dilemma is that some of the organizations and companies have indirectly and unconsciously adopted poor customer service as one of their core principles because they do not use customer complaints as positive feedback for continual improvement. Maybe organisations such as Air Botswana, Department of Immigration, BURS, the Taxi and Bus association, accommodation facilities and all those in the Hospitality and tourism industry which receive visitors should be encouraged to improve customer service in their respective areas of operation.  Then we can contribute towards job creation and a world class investment in Botswana.


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