Massive jump in tourist arrivals in Lesotho

Massive jump in tourist arrivals in Lesotho

MASERU -THE number of tourists visiting Lesotho increased from 422 000 in 2017 to 800 000 early this year, an almost 100 percent growth over a two-year period.
The stunning figures were disclosed by the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LDTC) Chief Executive Officer, Mpaiphele Maqutu, last Tuesday.
The industry registered 1.2 million arrivals and accrued M488 million revenue according to Lesotho Tourism Industry Performance 2018.
Five top source markets are South Africa, Zimbabwe, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.
At least 2 717 jobs in the tourism sector were created.

Maqutu said the lack of a harmonised cross-border tourism trade system between Lesotho and South Africa creates constraints that prevent tour operators from fully harnessing the cross-border tourism trade.

He said in a quest to address the problem, the Tour Operators Association of Lesotho (TOAL), Lesotho Hotels and Hospitality Association and the LTDC will host representatives from the Kwazulu Natal Tour Operators Association.
He said officials from South African Tourism (Durban and Gauteng) offices will also be part of the meeting scheduled to take place on the 5th and 9th this month.
The meeting will discuss ways in which the two countries can work together for mutual beneficiation, Maqutu said.
TOAL Chairperson, Rethabile Morake, said tour operators will work together to enhance tourism in Lesotho by ensuring that they take tourists to their different destinations after the LTDC has done its marketing part.

Morake said they would ensure that these tourists have places to stay in Lesotho.
We are blessed with a beautiful country which is able to attract thousands of tourists hence “it is our duty to love and protect it”, Morake said.
He said Lesotho shares the border with South Africa but it spends thousands of money to market tourism.
He said their South African counterparts have been successful in that aspect and therefore it is an opportunity for Lesotho to make sure tourists spend at least a day touring Lesotho.
Maqutu said the main objectives of the meeting is to maximise tourism business between Lesotho and South Africa and establish long-term working relationships and tour operation linkages between the two countries.

He said the meeting will also strengthen and expand the role of the private sector as a prime driver of economic growth through tourism and engage in a familiarisation tour around Lesotho’s major tourism hotspots.
He said statistics are invaluable for monitoring the country’s economic and social conditions, the planning and evaluation of government and private sector programmes and investment, policy debates and advocacy.

He said the LTDC routinely collects and analyses marketing and investment strategies.
Maqutu said the LTDC has also embarked on the construction of a visitor comfort facility at the Semonkong waterfall on the southern part of the gorge.
The construction works are almost 60 percent complete and the project is expected to be completed by end of October this year.
Maqutu said the corporation handed Molimo-Nthuse Lodge and Pony Trekking facility to a local private operator Molengoane Lodge Pty (Ltd) in February this year with a view to revamp the facility which had been lying unused for more than 10 years.

In the spirit of ensuring community participation in tourism, sustainable tourism development and community beneficiation through tourism, the LTDC has also started sensitising the communities living around Semonkong and Molimo-Nthuse on possible business opportunities to tap into creating jobs and for revenue generation.

Tokase Mphutlane

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