Gaborone - The International Tourism Bourse (ITB-Berlin) has described Botswana as "Africa's best-kept secret" and selected the country to be the first-ever Southern African official partner of the 2017 next year.
The agreement to make Botswana the 2017 official partner of the world's leading travel and trade show was signed in Berlin on March 9 between Botswana Tourism Minister Tshekedi Khama and ITB-Berlin In a statement released after the signing ceremony, ITB-Berlin head David Ruetz said Botswana was selected because of its successful implementation of sustainable tourism initiatives.
"Botswana is Africa's best-kept secret. Two contrasting natural features characterise this country: the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Basin with its many animal species, large forests, and innumerable streams That empty into small lakes. Particularly during the rain, visitors to safaris can marvel at the unique fauna and flora.
“The different cultural heritage of the country, warm hospitality showed by people, as well as sustainable tourism make Botswana an unrivalled holiday destination in southern Africa.
"The fact that almost 40 per cent of the country's surface area has been declared a national park, wildlife or nature reserve is a test of exemplary efforts to preserve nature," Ruetz said.
In his remarks, Khama said as the country's premier tourism marketing authority, the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) would seize the opportunity offered by the country's prestigious status as the official partner of ITB-Berlin 2017 to share its nature conservation achievements and consolidate the country's position as a top global tourism destination.
“The Botswana Tourism Organisation has taken the opportunity to become the partner country of ITB Berlin 2017 to share Botswana's nature conservation achievements with the rest of the world and to raise general awareness of this country. Botswana's role as the partner country of the world's largest travel trade show will ensure the long-term attention of the global tourism industry.
"Botswana's tourism successes will also focus on our potential for economic development. Botswana has achieved great success that has remained largely unnoticed around the world. Botswana will benefit from this year's fiftieth anniversary of ITB Berlin.
"Number of activities and events will allow us to improve our returns on investment," Khama said.
African News Agency (ANA)