Let’s go straight to the point: Gaborone is the capital of Botswana and a very down-to-earth city. However, the country, only a trifle bigger than France, has an abundance of unspoilt nature. Like in many other East African nations the call to develop MICE is very present. This is the message that I received from Jillian Blackbeard from the Marketing Department of the Botswana Tourism Organisation. Marcel A.M. Vissers reports
Amazing Natural Wonder
One cannot talk about Botswana without mentioning that it is one of the world’s truly great natural wonders, one that is actually visible from space. To visit the country, it is recommended to lose no time in getting acquainted with the planes of Wilderness Air or MackAir if you wish to fly from one Safari camp to the next Game park. Air corridors in this part of the world have much similarity with our European motorways. To really discover the soul of Botswana there is no better option than to fly over the country’s jewel in the crown: the Okavango Delta, a spectacular seasonal river delta that never reaches the sea.
You may wonder what all this has to do with MICE? Jillian Blackbeard’s answer to this is quite clear: “Botswana is a dream destination for tourism and more particularly for incentive travel. I am thinking in particular of the large portfolio of luxury safari experiences (both desert and delta safaris) that we have to offer. We are the leaders in this segment in East Africa and although MICE is still in the early stages of development the Botswana Tourism Organisation is very decided to develop it.”
She continues: “To be fair I have to point out that for the time being meeting facilities are still limited in our country. The starting point is generally our capital city, with the Grand Palm Hotel Casino and Convention Resort as the highlight. For business gatherings there are a few well-equipped lodges with excellent meeting facilitie like Chobe Game lodge, Xudum Okavango Delta, Duma Tau and Cresta Mowana, just to name a few.”
New Look at the Grand Palm
To get a good idea of MICE capacity you need to take a look at the local convention centre. In Botswana the obvious choice is the Peermont Convention Resort, one of the finest facilities of its kind in Southern Africa. In my opinion this convention centre (GICC or Gaborone International Convention Centre) can be better described as an oversized villa for meetings: stately, surrounded by water and luscious gardens and of course oozing with African hospitality and warmth.
But it is definitely also a resort because in addition to its multifaceted convention centre for up to 1,800 delegates several major hotels are present: the 4-star Peermont Mondior hotel, the luxury Peermont Walmont hotel and the 3-star Metcourt Inn. Another property with excellent meetings facilities is the Gaborone Lansmore Hotel. Located in one of the two towers in the iconic Masa Square in Gaborone, the Lansmore Masa Square Hotel has 153 rooms, a restaurant, conference centre and a non-affiliated casino. Some in the country tend to call it the ultimate work, shop, play and stay destination in the country.
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