While Botswana soared three places up in the 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness rankings, it still lags behind regional peers such as Namibia, South Africa, Mauritius and Kenya.
According to the recently released Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report for 2017, Botswana continues to improve in both the ranking and quality score, with the country ranked 85th out of 136 countries compared to 88th out of 141 countries in 2016. Although Botswana rankings have improved, it is still behind South Africa (53rd), Mauritius (55th), Kenya (80th) and Namibia, which slid 12 places down the ranking to position 82.
The report says Botswana went up the rankings due to the success of its specific policies and strategic aspects that impact the industry more directly. Categories where Botswana scored high, point to the country’s ability to sustain the environment (36th), its effort to prioritise travel and tourism (29th) and price competitiveness (13th).
The country’s ability to conserve its natural resources is evident from the rankings (50th). Botswana’s business environment also ranked favourably well (30th), although the extent of market dominance and the time it takes to start a business in the country is still considered a challenge.
“In its effort to diversify the economy, the government continues to prioritise certain economic activities, which have benefited the travel and tourism industry. This is evident from the Report, as previously Botswana was ranked number 46th for prioritising the travel and tourism sector and in the current Report, it is ranked 29th.
The country has also intensified its marketing and branding strategies to attract tourists. This has resulted in an improved ranking in this area from 68th to 33rd this year),” reads a report from the Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC).
BNPC collaborates with the World Economic Forum (WEF) in compiling the reports. According to the report, Botswana also still benefits from its excellent price competitiveness, ranked 13th. Low-ticket taxes and airport charges are ranked second, with hotel prices considered to be competitive, ranked 23rd.
There has been a drop in the ranking for the purchasing power and fuel price levels; with Botswana jet fuel still deemed to be among the highest in the world.
The 2017 report shows that the Botswana’s environmental sustainability is ranked 36th. The total percentage of threatened species continues to be very low and the sustainability of travel and tourism development also continues to be viewed favourably.
Of continued concern is the fact that the country is still struggling in terms of infrastructure. The air transport infrastructure remains very low (88th).
The availability of international seats per kilometre is considered among the worst in the world together with the number of available airlines in the country (with rankings of 132nd and 130th respectively).
The component of human resource and the labour market pillar has been improving in recent years, as it is ranked 72nd this year compared to 100th in the previous report. The report shows that it is still not easy to find skilled employees, as well as to hire foreign labour in Botswana. The report was released by the WEF under the theme, “Paving the Way for a More Sustainable & Inclusive Future”. The theme reflects the increasing focus on ensuring the industry’s sustained growth in an uncertain security environment while preserving the natural environment and local communities on which it so richly depends.
Globally, Spain tops the 2017 rankings for the second time, followed by France, Germany, Japan (gaining five places), the United Kingdom and the United States (sixth – falling two places).