Spanish tour travel agency Horizonte Paralelo has set
off the Botswana tourism boycott after cancelling
trips for several people who were planning to visit
the country.
This follows UK-based human rights organisation
Survival International’s campaign urging tourists to
boycott Botswana in protest against government’s
attempts to force the Bushmen off their ancestral
land in the central Kalahari, an area widely promoted
as a tourist destination.
The pressure group wrote to tour operators
worldwide urging them to cancel their trips to
Botswana over its treatment of the Basarwa
Bushmen.
And Spanish travel agency, Horizonte Paralelo’s
chairman and managing director, Mr Pablo Rodríguez
Martinez, has told a Botswana Sunday paper they
had joined the boycott.
The agency said they were preparing trips to
Botswana, but had since cancelled them “until the
government reconsiders its shameful conduct and
takes action towards a Culture of Peace”.
Mr Martinez is quoted in the Sunday Standard as
saying: “We have joined the Botswana government
tourist boycott promoted by Survival International. It
seems a proportionate measure to respond to the
victimisation of Basarwa people.”
He also told the publication they had suffered a lot to
learn of the degrading treatment towards the
population of the Kalahari Nature Reserve by
Botswana’s government.
“We are totally against harassment. Since 1986,
Botswana authorities have been persecuting Basarwa
tribes; destruction of wells, prohibition of hunting
and gathering, decimating water reserves… for the
sole purpose of pressurising people to displace them
from areas rich in diamond deposits,” he said.
Botswana government spokesperson Jeff Ramsay
told the paper they had submitted a letter to the
Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana
(HATAB) and Botswana Tourism expressing concern
at the campaign.
The two organisations exist to promote hospitality
and tourism in the diamond-rich nation.

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