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Botswana recognises sustainable tourism for development

Botswana recognises sustainable tourism for development

Dated : 05.10.2017


Botswana as a country that recognises the integral part that tourism plays in its economy has no choice but to practise sustainable tourism, University of Botswana Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Kgomotso Moahi, has said.
Professor Moahi was welcoming guests at a public lecture Botswana Tourism Organisation in collaboration with the University of Botswana organized to recognize 2017 as International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development at the UB Library on July 26, 2017.
 
In the context of the Universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Year aims to support change in policies, business practices and consumer behaviour towards a more sustainable tourism sector that can contribute to the SDGs.
 
Therefore, the lecture was, among others, an opportunity to raise awareness of the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers and the public while mobilising all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.
Consequently, Professor Moahi said in the case for Botswana, there was no choice but to practise eco-tourism and to do it in a way that enhanced its conservation because it formed an integral part of the economy. She said the visit by the UNWTO Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai, who was the guest speaker at the lecture, highlighted and cemented the world recognition of Botswana as a leader in sustainable tourism development. 
The Acting Vice Chancellor also viewed the public lecture as part of UB’s key priority areas, especially the one on stakeholder engagement, as the University strives towards making a positive impact on the lives of Batswana besides offering academic programmes relevant to their well-being.
 
In his address, Dr. Rifai pointed out that sustainable tourism could have a positive effect in developing countries in that countries would contribute to poverty eradicating, protection of the environment, and overall improvement of the quality of life. He said tourism led to greater awareness of the heritage of other civilizations, and as a result an appreciation of other countries and strengthening world peace.
 
Dr. Rifai added that tourism promoted inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. “More than 3.2 billion international tourists travel the world every day, which means that tourism provides millions of jobs and is crucial for national and local economies, thus, it is up to us to utilize and protect for future,” said the UNWTO Secretary General.
 
He stated that it was Batswana’s responsibility to protect and sustain nature, adding “nature does not need people but rather people need nature for survival”.
Even though tourism is the third largest export industry in the world, it has its challenges, such as security and economic issues as much as revolution growth changes.  Thus, Dr. Rifai urged Batswana to recognise the challenges, and take tourism seriously.
 
Dr. Rifai advised Botswana to keep the community in mind when making changes. “We can’t give people a leverage to enjoy the country while we are not enjoying the space. Well designed and well managed tourism can contribute to a healthy sustainable development,” he said.
 
He urged Batswana to cherish what they had and positively make use of it, highlighting that the country’s true assets were its people. “You owe it to the world to show them what you have, do not deny the world to see that,” he added.
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