Tourism’s iron lady on a mission
Moeti Practicum Institute prides itself in providing unique training for the Hospitality and Tourism industry.
As its founder and Director, Dr. Nkisang Moeti, puts it, the institute offers training with a unique flair of Practicum embedded.
Moeti, 55, is an agent of change and strategist consultant, trainer, executive coach, and mentor with over 25 years’ experience under her belt.
The outspoken go-getter is no doubt a leader in the tourism industry with several tourism operations n her portfolio.
She owns Diamond Inn guest house in Tlokweng, Sunny Delight guest house in the country’s second city, Francistown, Gumare Executive Hotel, Masunga School of Travel and Tourism and early childhood development as well as the Moeti practicum institute, in partnership with the government’s department of tourism currently training one hundred tourism operators around the country.
FRANCINAH BAAITSE, talks to the entrepreneurial professor tells us about her passion for the development of the tourism sector as key in the economic transformation and diversification of Botswana.
Q: When did you decide to go into the tourism business?
I have been with the University of Botswana (UB) for the past 25 years until I retired in 2015 to start the Institute (Moeti Practicum Institute).
During the period I was with UB, I identified a gap that existed in the market when I realised that we were producing people who are designed to work, who are meant to be employed and not to be employers or entrepreneurs and not only that but also who had no skills match for the market.
This I realised was wrong because we are supposed to be producing graduates who would become employers and entrepreneurs who can propel change in mindset and transform the nation.
This drove my desire to fill the gap that existed hence the establishment of Moeti Practicum Institute.
Q: Do you believe you have managed to fill that gap?
It’s a work in progress.
We are committed to providing our trainees with the best possible training in all the programmes we offer with a practical flair embedded.
As you may know, the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry are one of the largest and most dynamic sectors of the modern economy providing not only jobs but a myriad of other opportunities. Africa, and especially Botswana, has experienced and will continue experiencing a massive upsurge in tourism and leisure, and as it grows this sector is becoming increasingly diverse as tourists develop new expectations and experiences.
The pandemic currently has brought in some imbalances and requires a different approach to doing things in this industry.
Q: So what do you think needs to be done to adapt to change and move the industry forward?
To prosper in this dynamic market, we need to be practically grounded, innovative and be able to work effectively; exercising professionalism, integrity in all we do.
There is also a need to be flexible, creative, and have the ability to think critically and reflect on how we relate to colleagues and customers.
That is why we are building a network of tourism operators and advocating for a share of tourism income from concession holders through professional networks.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?
I want to be an agent of change and make a profound contribution to Botswana’s economy by imparting my expertise to ensure sustainable development growth in the economy where all those who come through my path and the Institute will be practically grounded, innovative and be able to work effectively; exercising professionalism and integrity in all they do.
Moeti Practicum Institute aims to be a leading Centre of excellence renowned for its outcome-based, innovative approach and industry engagement to meet the dynamic global needs.
It is our mission to provide transformative programmes, services, and research that place us as a globally recognised and influential institution in advancing knowledge and skills development of human capital, industry, and commerce for global competitiveness.
Q: What can you say is or was a major aspect of your success?
A major aspect of the success equation has to do with being determined to make it despite all hurdles you face to realise your dreams.
It’s important to celebrate all victories large and small on the journey toward fulfilling your dreams.
Little is much when God is in it.
The Scripture tells us to be, “Thankful in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). When we find ourselves overwhelmed with burdens and worried about tomorrow, we can praise God for who he is and his promise to never leave us or forsake us.
Q: Are you a motivational speaker?
I am and an executive coach as well as a mentor.
Q: Impressive! Besides motivating and mentoring your trainees what do you do for relaxation?
Being with my family especially my three sons helps me relax because they give me the drive to fulfill my dream to propel mindset shift for transformation as I observe and discuss with them issues of concern in the society that impact human behaviour and productivity.
Q: Your hobby is unique, is that all?
While others may feel jogging and the like help relax, I feel exchanging views with people who make a difference makes me relax.
Travelling is my like too.
I love travelling and meeting people.
Q: Kindly share with us a glimpse of your day-to-day routine as a mother, wife, and businesswoman?
Being a woman of note, I respect family life.
I believe I carry two hats; that of a business professional woman, a mother, and a wife, so when I leave work, I take off my directorship and wear a mother and wife cap.
Just for laughs, I live in Block 10 (Gaborone), when I pass Sebele mall to my house that’s when the changing of caps takes place.
Although I am a Dr and professor, that does not work in the house.
I do normal chores and I love it because it relaxes me.
Q Hahaha, yes isn’t that another hobby? I thought there must be more hobbies that you shared earlier?
(Laughs) Oh yeah, I forgot my other best hobby, gardening. Iyoo I love nature!
Q: Earlier you mentioned that you were with UB for 25 years, what was your role there?
I was the head of the Marketing department for three months then became the Faculty of Business Deputy Dean.
It was in this office that I realised the gap that existed in the calibre of students we produced and that is when I left to start my own institute.
Q: You seem to have a lot of passion for tourism, when did you develop an interest in the field?
In Gaborone, there used to be great trade fairs where international exhibitions would come from all over the world. So we were approached by exhibitors from the Netherlands whom we provided accommodation for a weekend and we were paid in US dollars and we were staying with them, showcasing our cultural foods and others.
At the time we were trying to register a guest house and there were no such procedures on how to start such business so we approached the Department of Tourism and they suggested we accommodate the guests although we were not licensed.
We were however advised that as soon as the regulations are in place we needed to regularise the establishment.
Q: So that is how your interest developed?
Actually, my family and I used to live in Manchester in the United Kingdom from 1997 until 2002 and when we were travelling around the places back then we would put up in a bed and breakfast and we would notice a husband and wife that stayed in and served us with love and you know when you are visiting the person your trust is your host, so I loved this kind of gesture.
At the end of 1998, we opened a guest house similar to those we saw in the UK in Tlokweng.
Q: Any last words?
A word of encouragement to others out there; do not be afraid to follow your dreams.
It is important to believe in yourself and what you do right now and your successes can only go up from there.
Simply having the determination to pursue your dreams, the vision you have is a massive success in itself.
It takes an incredible amount of courage to wake up every morning and keep moving and keep motivating yourself to work toward the vision that you’ve always imagined.
Q: In your own words, what is your definition of success?
It is an equation and a feeling.
The preparation part of the success equation, your journey, should be celebrated, for success is not simply a destination.
Success is not something that we arrive at one day.
Success has everything to do with your individual day-to-day choices, actions, and experiences.
No matter how big or small they are.
Success has to do with being true to who you are and how you choose to respond to every circumstance that occurs in your life.
In fact, feeling successful has much to do with how you personally define success.
Do you define success as having more in your life; more money, more recognition, more material items or do you define success according to other people’s standards? Or do you define success as feeling happy with who you are or being happy with your choices and being grateful for all that you have in your life today? It all really depends on how you view and feel it!