First partner country ever from Southern Africa – official announcement of partnership between Botswana and the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show® at ITB Berlin on 9 March 2016
In 2017 Botswana will be the official partner country of ITB Berlin. On 9 March 2016, at a press event at ITB Berlin, an agreement between the world’s leading travel trade show and Botswana was signed by Tourism Minister H.E. Tshekedi Khama II and Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH.
According to Tourism Minister Tshekedi Khama of Botswana, “The Botswana Tourism Organisation has taken the opportunity to become the partner country of ITB Berlin 2017 in order 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. It will not only place the spotlight on Botswana’s tourism successes but will also focus attention worldwide on our potential for economic development. In the past Botswana has achieved great success that has remained largely unnoticed around the world. Botswana will also benefit from this year’s fiftieth anniversary of ITB Berlin. Numerous activities and events will give us the opportunity to market and promote our country as a tourism destination and to improve our returns on investment.“
“Botswana is Africa’s best-kept secret“, says David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin. “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 rainy season, visitors on trips and safaris can marvel at the unique fauna and flora. The diverse cultural heritage of the country, the warm hospitality shown by its 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 testimony to the exemplary efforts undertaken to actively preserve nature.“
In 2016 Botswana celebrated 50 years of independence. Often referred to as one of the last remaining gems of Africa, the country was quick to realise its potential as a tourism destination. The Republic of Botswana has been exhibiting at ITB Berlin every year since 1984, in an aim to make people around the world aware of its special attractions. Next to the diamond industry, the most important branch of the economy, the tourism sector currently already accounts for five per cent of GDP.
At ITB Berlin 2017 Botswana, the partner country of the show, will be organising the opening event on 7 March 2017, and from 8 to 12 March 2017 will be entertaining visitors to ITB Berlin with a wide-ranging programme of events.