Botswana’s tourism industry is proportionally a more important industry in Botswana than in many other countries. Research by the WTTC found that travel and tourism contributed 13.4% to Botswana’s GDP compared to a world average of round 10%. Botswana’s travel and tourism GDP grew by 3.4% in 2018.
Travel and tourism contributed 8.9% of total employment in Botswana in 2018, equating to 84 500 jobs.
The latest available data on foreign tourist arrivals to Botswana is from the Tourism Statistics Annual Report 2017 published in March 2019. The report states that Botswana received 1,774,960 visitors in 2017 of which 91.4% (1,622,588) were overnight visitors and 8.6% (152 372) were same-day visitors. The total number of tourists increased by 3.7% in 2017 over 2016.
Leisure tourists accounted for 28.3% of all tourists, followed by business tourists (23.2%) and visiting friends and relatives (22.5%).
84.5% of Botswana’s tourists originate from the SADC region with the main sources markets for tourists to Botswana being Zimbabwe (33.4%) and South Africa (32.9%). The main overseas source markets are the United States of America (3%), Germany (2.5%) and the United Kingdom (1.6%).
Only 6.7% of all tourists to Botswana arrive by air indicating that it is an overland destination that is visited in conjunction with countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The hotel statistics are supplied by STR which has analysed and reported on data from 63 000 hotels, representing 8.4 million rooms in 180 countries.
The data from STR for January to April 2019 shows that hotels in Botswana achieved an average room occupancy of 51.8%, which was an increase of 1.9% over the same period in 2018. An average room rate of US$100.21 was achieved, representing a decline of 5.2%. This decline resulted in a 3.4% decline in RevPAR to US$105.71.