Monday, 5 June 2017

BOTSWANA: Botswana Tourism Levy Suspended,Avani Gaborone Resort And Casino For Refurbishment

The Botswana Tourism Organisation has put on hold the implementation of the tourism development levy, which was scheduled to go into effect on June 1 this year.

An announcement on a new date is expected in two weeks.

The $30 (€27) levy will be payable at all ports of entry, including airports and border posts, through electronic payment machines, cash, and debit and credit cards.

The objective of the levy is to raise funds for conservation and natural tourism development.

Minor Hotels will invest $7 million in refurbishment of Avani Gaborone Resort and Casino in Botswana. The renovation has already commenced, with completion expected at the beginning of September.

All guest bedrooms and public spaces are being renovated and will include Avani’s signature design hallmarks.

The hotel will be adding on an additional four guest rooms. Once renovations have been completed, the resort will offer 198 keys in total.

The layout of the guest bedrooms and bathrooms are being redesigned, ensuring optimal use of space. The contemporary, fresh design will offer a media hub and large plasma television screens.

The main entrance and porte cochère will also be completely remodelled.

Existing lobby walls are to be demolished and the ceiling raised, allowing in natural light. A pantry is being introduced, where guests can eat, grab a quick bite, or stock up their mini bars.

The conservatory will provide an informal, communal eating area, with wicker seating, punkah fans, and parquet flooring.

Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism is currently amending the grading process.

Minister of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama said changes include performing the grading process annually instead of every two years.

Khama said the ministry observed that quality of products declines in between gradings.

He further said tourism facilities and products in the country’s urban areas do not match the standard of those in the wilderness areas.

Sanctuary Retreats have started work on monitoring the growing rhino population in the Moremi Reserve, Botswana.

As part of this project Sanctuary Retreats have hired two Monitoring Assistants, Ollie and Kandu.

Both will be based at Sanctuary Chief’s Camp and will cover the Moremi Game Reserve area. Guests staying at this camp will have the opportunity to speak with Ollie and Kandu to find out how the Okavango Delta’s rhino population is doing.

By monitoring and studying the behaviour of the rhino, the team hope to learn more about their territories, foraging and breeding habits, this will help determine what effect the translocation project has had on the rhino and the area, and also find out if the area can handle more rhino.

Ollie and Kandu have been trained by both the Mombo Rhino Monitoring Team and the Botswana Anti-Poaching Unit.

Botswana’s Minister of Environment and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, has revealed that his ministry has acquired P45 million (€4m) to develop the Maun Educational Park.

In an interview, Khama said the money would be used to develop tourism facilities but that he was not in position to state what facilities would be built, saying they were planning to change the park’s original plan.

Khama said initially a casino, eco lodge and a five-star hotel were planned on the site, but he indicated that the plan was likely to be changed. “We may decide that the park should remain as a wildlife park which has accommodation. We want this park to also reflect the culture of the people in Maun.”

He said a tender would be circulated to the private sector after finalisation of the latest plan for the operation of the facilities.

The park was established in 1970 and is situated on a strategic zone within the Thamalakane river front, an area that has been earmarked as a tourism development zone under the revised Maun development plan.