GABORONE, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Botswana is seriously exploring the domestic tourism route as a safeguard to the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused a lot of confusion to the economic performance of many countries across the globe.
Unlike before the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year, Botswana's tourism marketing had been focused on international tourists from the western countries. However, things have changed with Botswana emphasizing on a greater and increased focus on domestic market.
"We have made a decision to vigorously explore domestic market as an alternative means to advancing the tourism sector," Philda Kereng, Botswana's minister of environment, natural resources conversation and tourism, told a press conference on Saturday.
Endowed with both flora and fauna, the southern African country's northern part has over the years been a destination to many international tourists from countries like China, the U.S. and Europe.
However, closures of borders and stoppage of international flights as a precautionary measure towards curtailing the spread and transmission of the deadly coronavirus from one country to the other did hit Botswana tourism sector hard.
"As we are not still able to receive international tourists, domestic tourism in this regard should come in play. We have been working hard in promoting local tourism as a way of encouraging our people to travel," she said.
Kereng said her department is running a number of campaigns through radio, television and newspaper advertisement in order to promote domestic tourism.
She said the campaigns resulted in an increased interest in domestic traveling during the country's Independence holidays celebrated at the end of September with over 10, 000 local visitors visiting the pristine areas in the northwestern part of the country.
According to Statistics Botswana, at least 1, 830, 274 tourists visited Botswana in 2018 and 65 percent of them were international tourists.