For the first time in history, about 1000 delegates from 191 UNESCO heritage member states will gather in December for the Intangible Heritage Cultural Expo.
Every year UNESCO holds the Intangible Cultural Heritage in one of member states to discuss the issues pertaining to the preservation of cultural heritage, and this year Botswana plays host at its tourism resort town of Kasane from the 4th to the 9th of December.
Chobe District Commissioner Gofaone Moremi said that through the expo, Botswana will have an opportunity to make a submission on her intangible cultural elements that are considered to be in need of urgent preservation. She explained that Botswana is developing a strategy on hosting meetings, international conferences and expos, as part of the MICE tourism, adding that such international events fall with the scope of the initiative.
She further elaborated that the event will play a significant role in diversifying the economy as the business operators will be able to provide goods and services at the event. The most immediate to benefit, she said will be the transport and accommodation sectors.
Further, Moremi said the expo will help market Botswana as a destination of choice to the international market. The local authorities will also seek to give small business operators an opportunity to benefit by displaying their products for sale to the delegates of the Expo.
She noted that the Chobe region stands to benefit immensely, adding that already in 2019 the Seperu dance was listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding by UNESCO.
“The preparations for the event have started both at the national and district level, both local and national organising committees have already been established,” she said.
Moremi has stated that last week the UNESCO secretariat sent a team to Kasane to assess the venue and the accommodation facilities for the delegates. She said that the secretariat also met the local organising committee to discuss the way forward.
Meanwhile, during the assessment event UNESCO Secretariat Tim Curtis said that Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage is a key cultural industry. He said that they have approved funding and Botswana has been able to access funding on Seperu dancing to revitalize and to train Seperu classes. Curtis said that the major benefit of the expo is putting Botswana on the map to gain recognition at global stage.