Botswana has identified tourism as an industry with a potential to contribute to the diversification of the economic base, and as an engine of growth. To tap into this potential, the Government of Botswana has embarked on a strategic tourism development programme funded by the European Union through the Lome IV Convention.
The Government has also extended the Financial Assistance Policy (JAP) grants to the development of tourism. The European funded programme, known as the Botswana Tourism Development Programme (BTDP), has six components: Tourism Planning and Development; Tourism Education and Training; Tourism Marketing and Promotion; Tourism Research and Statistics; Tourism Awareness and Institution Building. The programme is expected to take off early next year.
The BTDP will, through a partnership of the public and private sectors, ensure that tourism becomes a significant generator of employment, income, foreign exchange and government revenue, thereby contributing to the improved quality of life of the indigenous population.
The immediate purpose of the programme is to enable Botswana to establish a tourism development planning framework to ensure the optimal utilisation of Botswana's tourism potential and resources; establish structured and cost-effective marketing efforts in line with long-term development projectiles; improve the quality of tourism industry services of tourism; improve the perception of tourism in Botswana; improve the capabilities of the public and private tourism sector organisation to ensure proper management of existing and future tourism development.
To encourage and facilitate private sector investment in tourism development, the Government has extended FAP grants to tourism development. FAP is a system of grants designed to assist with the setting-up or expansion of private sector businesses in manufacturing, agriculture, small-scale mining, mineral processing activities, linking service industries and tourism. Government money is extended as grants to investors, both local and foreign who want to invest in these activities.
Under FAP, tourist enterprises with fixed assets of between P75,000 and P2 million will be classified as medium scale; enterprises with fixed assets in excess of P2 million will be classified as large scale, and those with fixed assets of less than P75,000 as small-scale.
A tourist enterprise eligible to benefit from FAP assistance means an enterprise or activity undertaken by a person, community trust, a co-operative, a society or a firm for the purpose of, or to promote or facilitate, tourism in Botswana in return for financial reward. Casinos are excluded from eligibility. These enterprises, licensed under the Tourism Act of 1992 are:
Botswana is landlocked and straddles the Tropic of Capricorn in the centre of the southern African Plateau between latitudes 17 and 27 and longitudes 20 and 30 east. It is bordered by South Africa in the south and southeast, Zambia and Zimbabwe in the northwest, and Namibia in the north and west.
Average daily maximum temperatures range from 22C in July to 33C in January. Average daily minimum temperatures range from 5C in July to 19C in January. However, the temperature range is wide with extremes from less than minus 5C up to 43C. The lowest temperatures occur in the southwest where early morning frost may occur during June to August.
Botswana is a largely arid and semi-arid country with mean annual rainfall ranging from over 650mm in the extreme northeast to less than 250mm in the extreme southwest. And a secondary maximum of over 550mm occurs in the southeast around Lobatse, while a secondary minimum of less than 350mm occurs in the low lying area between the Shashe and Limpopo rivers in the extreme east.
This country boasts unrivalled scenic beauty, natural history monuments and rich cultural diversity. National parks and game reserves, teeming with a diversity of wildlife species, offer premier holiday destinations. Well distributed throughout the country, these areas support large animal populations from birdlife to the world's famous big five - lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard. The large predators, lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena are also found in these areas.
You can experience the magic of Botswana's wilderness any time of the year. The country boasts of a rich diversity of wild fauna and flora found in protected areas which occupy 17 per cent of its total land area.