Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism Ms Philda Kereng has challenged Batswana to focus on agro tourism to change the country’s economic landscape.
Speaking during Vice President’s meeting with COVID-19 team in Charles Hill on June 12 Ms Kereng said COVID-19 had adversely affected the tourism sector thus calling for the industry to do things in a special way.
She said there were opportunities in the agricultural sector to diversify tourism hence, if optimally utilized, agro tourism could soar the tourism and hospitality industry thus injecting money into the economy.
She said given that Charles Hill was strategically positioned along the Trans Kalahari corridor the village should take advantage of its geographical position to have something to showcase to tourists.
She said owing to the fact that borders were still closed creativity was paramount in ensuring that the industry remained buoyant.
She implored residents to use skills and knowledge in resuscitating the economy, adding residents should form community trusts and Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to benefit from community based natural resource management to improve their livelihood.
She spoke of the need for capacity building to empower such trusts and NGOs.
She said dairy farming could lure tourists into the area, adding arts and crafts of which villagers have highly specialised skills needed to be explored. She said COVID-19 taught Batswana to be self-sufficient and the agricultural sector had potential in bridging the gap between demand and supply.
However, agro-tourism has a double advantage of ensuring food security as well as proceeds accrued from tourists.
On other issues, she expressed gratitude for the hospitality industry to have availed accommodation for quarantining and other purposes related to COVID-19 noting such a gesture needed to be cherished.
She said there was a need to strike a balance between ensuring safety of Citizenry and economy remaining buoyant amid COVID-19 pandemic.
Kgosi Mbao Kahiko III of Charles Hill thanked Vice President and his entourage for visiting the area despite tight schedule.