The Botswana Tourism industry is not listening to it’s future market.
I am wrong, there’s actually one person, a friend of mine. I don’t know if she counts, as her reasons for wanting to go to Botswana are the type that separates one from the love of God. She decided that it is the place to be for the satisfaction of her carnal desires after I told her about how physically inviting the women are. Aside from that down low, backslider I call my friend; I have never heard anybody else.
Botswana is a shy and quiet country, with its capital city, Gaborone, located just a 4 hour drive from Johannesburg, South Africa. It is bordered by Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. 70% of the country is covered by the Kalahari Desert.
Botswana’s tourist attractions are its game reserves and that is wonderful for tourists who love and are curious about wild life. However, the Botswana Tourism Industry seems to be doing very little to cater for the African millennial traveller, who happens to be its future market.
Africa is popular for its wild life and most African countries have wild life reserves, therefore this means the African Millennial traveler is looking for more than a Safari. It would not make sense for me to leave the Kruger National Park, which is on my doorstep and go all the way to Reserve de Nazinga in Burkina Faso just to go stare at elephants whilst there are so many of them in my own country.
The African millennial traveler is more concerned about urban youth culture and a country’s modern culture. These are the type of travelers that when visiting a particular country they will be found at music festivals, at institutions of learning, at a food market that is showcasing local cuisine, a township bar, inside a local taxi, at a backpackers or in a remote village. The African Millennial traveler has an appreciation for authenticity. And a game drive is unfortunately not enough to win them over. There is so much more to Botswana that its tourism industry is not making noise about.
As I write this, it is approximately 24 days, 23 hours and 19 minutes to Botswana’s biggest music and cultural festival, the Gaborone International Music and Culture week (GIMC). This festival has been successfully setting Gaborone’s last week of August ablaze for three years now and it promises to do the same as it steps into its fourth year. But if you go on Google and type “things to do in Gaborone” GIMC will not show up.
This is a festival where two Jazz icons, Kirk Whalum and Jonathan Butler will be sharing a stage. In 2016, two of Africa’s most prominent DJ’s Black Coffee and DJ Fresh were headline acts. This year sees Cassper Nyovest, South Africa’s most loved duo Mafikizolo and Ricky Rick as some of the headline acts. Many great Batswana musicians will be performing alongside these South African entertainers but we are unfortunately not well acquainted with their music because not enough noise is being made about them.
Maybe it is time that the Botswana Tourism Industry acknowledges that music and travel go hand in hand with each other. To acknowledge that these two sectors are mutually dependent on each other and growth of one sector leads to a corresponding growth in the other sector.
Now that I am done shading the Botswana Tourism Industry, I am happy to announce that I will be attending the GIMC for the very first time and I just cannot wait to experience Batswana in their element.
The last time I was in Botswana, Gaborone, to be exact, I was scheduled to stay for 4 days. 7 days later I was still in Gaborone.I was having such a great time that leaving was so hard. Now my biggest worry (I’m Xhosa, worry is a constant in our tribe) is that this time around I will be the drunk girl screaming “we want more” an hour after the crowd has dispersed the show grounds. Batswana are experts at setting the night on fire; they always make it hard to leave.
Check out http://www.gimc.co.bw for more information on the fest.