The government of Botswana has lifted visa requirements for United Arab Emirates citizens, says the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The decision is expected to boost the destination’s attractiveness to Emiratis seeking an African safari experience.

UAE citizens will be able to stay for up to 90 days without a visa.

“The decision was taken as part of the drive towards expanding the strategy to encompass new markets for inbound tourists and investment partners,” Jillian Blackbeard, Marketing Manager for the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) told Tourism Update.

The UAE is significant as a new market, with the UNWTO citing growth of over 5% for outbound tourists from the region.

“Work is being done in terms of strategic partnerships with the UAE in areas such as aviation and tourism investment as well as direct tourism,” Blackbeard said.

BTO is also looking at capitalising on the high-nett-worth tourists coming out of the UAE. Statistically, these travellers are shown to travel at least twice a year; look for destinations that are secure and tolerant of other cultures; and can provide first-class luxury services. Secondly, the UAE and other Middle East and North African countries are home to a large population of expatriates who are also entitled to a high annual leave.

Currently, there are no Gulf carriers flying into Gaborone. Air Botswana, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways currently offer flights to Gaborone from Africa’s major cities.