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The Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) is in Maun this week for their Annual General Meeting and Conference officiated by His Honour the Vice President of the Republic of Botswana, Slumber Tsogwane.
These HATAB activities are carried out coincidentally at the time when the tourism peak season begins in Botswana. Much of the international tourists interested in wildlife-based tourism visit Botswana during our winter season. In addition, Botswana’s tourism industry is slowly recovering and bouncing back to its 2019 pre Covid-19 status in terms of numbers and revenue generation.
There is no doubt that for a considerable length of time Botswana will be known as a wildlife-based tourism destination or an international safari tourism destination. In addition, much of the safari tourism activities are carried out in northern Botswana especially in the Okavango Delta, Chobe region and part of the Boteti area. A few of these safari tourism activities are carried out in the Tuli Block area.
To confirm that Botswana will for sometime be known for its abundant wildlife resources and a wildlife-based tourism destination, I Googled the best time to visit Botswana and the first three sites that showed up from three companies had the following:
- “The best time to visit Botswana is during the dry season between May and October, when you can expect warm, sunny days (22°C to 35°C) and chilly nights. This is also when the water levels in the Okavango Delta are at their highest, creating the waterways and channels Botswana is famed for”.
- “The best time to visit Botswana is during the dry winter months of May to October when game viewing is at its peak. During these months, animals are concentrated in ever increasing numbers at water sources as the dry season wears on. Many experts regard the cooler months of June to August as the best time of year for luxury safaris in Botswana, which has the perfect weather for a game drive, and the risk of malaria is at its lowest”.
- “In general, game viewing in Botswana is best between May and November. In April/early May, the grasses are still long and game viewing can be more challenging. From late May onwards, game viewing can be considered as excellent, though it is probably absolutely it is most dramatic at the end of the dry season from August to October. The landscape can look harsh during this time, but game viewing is easiest because grasses and foliage have withered or being eaten, and animals are reliant on more limited water sources. Migrant birds tend to start arriving in late September. November usually brings the start of the rainy season, and whilst game viewing can still be excellent with great visibility, certain animals (particularly elephant and buffalo herds) will start to disperse as soon as enough rain has fallen for them to survive away from the permanent water sources”.
Based on the above, HATAB has made it a point that its AGMs and Conferences are carried out either in Maun or Kasane. Kasane and Maun are gateway tourism centers to Botswana’s wildlife areas of the Chobe and Okavango Delta respectively. HATAB exists to promote, encourage, and ensure excellence in hospitality and tourism industry in Botswana. HATAB ensures that all visitors, both from within and from outside Botswana, enjoy consistently high standards of service from the entire hospitality and tourism industry. HATAB was formed in 1982 and has a voluntary membership of registered and operating tourism enterprises in the country.
Moving forward, other forms of tourism should be promoted and developed in Botswana. Specifically, MICE tourism. MICE stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions and it represents a lucrative part of the tourism mix across the globe. MICE can also be referred to as Business Tourism or Business Events. HATAB and all stakeholders should join hands and promote MICE tourism in Botswana as a way of diversifying the tourism industry in the country.