‘Loose laws harming tourism’

‘Loose laws harming tourism’

MASERU – THE Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) has told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this week that the country is losing millions of maloti because of ‘loose’ laws governing the tourism industry.
LTDC Chief Executive Officer Mpaiphele Maqutu said their ‘Visit Exit Survey’ in 2016 found out that 119 000 tourists visited Lesotho.
And the country could have earned M1.2 million from those tourists.

Maqutu said they do not have laws and regulations that govern collection of revenue from tourists.
He said they have just devised means of collecting something from the tourists visiting the country.

He told the PAC that most of the tourists coming to Lesotho use the Sani Pass Border gate and come with everything from their countries or South Africa (SA) because “we do not have the tour’ operators who guide them about Lesotho”.
He said these tourists just come to Lesotho and do not buy or pay for anything because they are told by the SA tour operators that they do not need to pay anything in this country.

With this growing ‘crisis’, Maqutu said they approached tour operators at Sani Border gate and told them that the tourists should pay when they visit Lesotho. “We now collect about M300 per trip,” Maqutu said.
He said this shows that if the effective laws could be put in place they could collect more.

PAC chairperson Selibe Mochoboroane asked the LTDC what measures they have taken to ensure that this sector is viable and creates revenue for the country. Mochoboroane said the government of Lesotho has identified tourism and agriculture as the country’s biggest potential for revenue.
Maqutu said they have embarked on attracting more tourists both internationally and locally.

He said at international level, they have displayed exhibitions so that they could market the country.
And locally they go to Basotho and sensitize them about the importance of knowing their country and the places of tourists’ attraction.
“This will help Basotho to be proud of their country and the natural resources that they have that could promote tourism,” he said.

With his peppered speech, Maqutu said: “We also use radios, newspapers and we even go around the country to sensitize the people about tourism and its importance.” Parliamentary chief whip Likopo Mahase said that sounded good and fruitful.
“It shows that you are trying to work hard. We want people who are dedicated to their job,” said Mahase.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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