We were the guests of the Gauteng Tourism Agency (GTA), that embarked on a mission to foster trade relations with the Botswana marketing agencies, during the Botswana Consumer Tourism Expo, from August 25 to 29.
The objective of the participation was to showcase and promote Gauteng and Joburg’s major leisure and lifestyle events mainly scheduled from August untill December, covering the spring to summer periods in the province’s metropolitan municipalities of Tshwane and Johannesburg, respectively.
To attain its mandate -fashion designers and retailers were invited to display their brands to wanna-be Botswana fashionistas in the form of a pop up shop in one of the leading fashion and retail malls in Gaborone at Lansmore Square.
Yes, fashion, travel and tourism are intertwined, if you thought otherwise!
According to Barba Gaoganediwe, GTA head of Communication:” As part of our provincial events, bidding and hosting strategy, we have identified the period of August to December as our main events pick season with the bulk of these events focusing on lifestyle promotion namely music, fashion, cuisine, shopping and a variety of sporting and cultural activities.
It is a period in which Gauteng hosts the Moretele Park Tribute Concert, the Joburg International Arts Alive Festival, Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, Africa Fashion and Joburg Fashion Weeks, Tribe One Dinokeng Festival, Joburg City Festival, Soweto Wine Festival, Vaal Carnival, Summer Cup and the new addition to this experience, the Joburg Shopping Festival.”
Botswana, as our neighbouring state has a strategic, beneficial working relationship with South Africa, hence this is a pilot project which would see us also embarking into other neighbouring countries; as part of marketing our province and also untap business, says Gaoganediwe.
The country of Botswana has realized the dwindling numbers of visitors (albeit no official figures have been stated) into SA over the period of two-years’, and such activations could as well act as catalyst to their problems- despite boasting Safari experiences, etc.
Says Gaoganediwe:” We have decided to come to Botswana primarily because of the potential of this market. Batswana visits South Africa and Johannesburg in particular for business, leisure, shopping and visiting relatives, friends and family purposes.”
Interestingly, Gauteng attracts Africa’s highest spenders Angolan, Nigerians and Zambian, enjoying an average of 86% of these market shares and enjoys an about 50% an estimated 2.8 million of all arrival from Africa.
The main purpose of visit to South Africa and to Gauteng by African markets is for business shopping, personal shopping, visiting friends and family and for holiday
Yes, Botswana does not feature which is a startling revelation.
On the fashion front, Tshidiso Sepamla, a retailer working with well known House of Ole and Magents brands, who also complements as a fashion agent in SA says, a fashion counsel should be set up to help Southern Africa Development Countries as much as Europeans are assisted.
“This would be welcomed because we South Africans struggle with funding, finish and klaar.
But we hope such activations and partnerships with agencies such as GTA we shall untap markets such as the one in Botswana to create the desire for our brands outside our borders.”
Ours is to showcase and expose what we have to our neighbours and hopefully, this would be the beginning of another chapter in creating working relationship with our counterparts, who also exhibited their brands, says the bespectacled Sepamla.
Well known designer Annamarie Pretorius who exhibited, and Alinah Seloane Missouri, a fashion consultant -gave words of encouragements to young Botswana designers.
“While they will be coming for the best lifestyle and leisure events in Africa, we are also encouraging them to spend more days in Gauteng to explore other opportunities like business, trade, and investments,” opined Gaoganediwe, who also strongly emphasised that this opportunity will give both these local and international designers a chance think out of the box.
Botswana Tourism had not responded at the time of publishing.