from RETHABILE SELLO in Leribe, Lesotho
LERIBE – (CAJ News) – THE Visitors Comfort Facility (VCF) in the northern district of Butha Buthe of Lesotho is making progress in attracting international visitors.
Officials hope to build on this positive response to position the facility as a major player in international tourism in the Southern African country as the industry recovers.
The Butha Buthe VCF commenced operations in October 2021 in a bid to attract international and domestic tourists.
The government, through the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture, built the facility with the intention of providing the tourists with information about the country and tourism attraction places.
Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) helped select the appropriate service provider to run the place.
Southern Express secured the services.
Lerato Kokome, General Manager VCF, said with COVID-19 being the new normal, the facility started from zero new international tourists to at least 12 in a week.
He explained that despite the boarder restrictions, international tourists come in pairs or families into the country.
“We believe that with time they will come in buses like they used to,” Kokome stated.
He added the facility hoped for international tourism to grow through its marketing strategies accompanied by mouth to mouth advertising already in place.
Kokome said the returns and the number of the new tourists coming have confirmed the positive impact of the Butha Buthe VCF.
“The facility generates income which also sustains daily operations,” he added.
Apart from new tourists, the facility has also attracted the mine workers and managers from mines situated in the highlands of Butha Buthe.
These mines include Kao, Lets’eng and Liqhobong.
The VCF also attracts Afriski personnel.
Business people from neighbouring South Africa, who deliver goods in the mines, are also drawn to the place.
Butha Buthe VCF comprises of stalls which are used for displaying Lesotho hand-made products, cafe and restaurant offerings and a board room hired for holding meetings.
Manchafalo Mots’oeneng, LTDC Public Relations Officer, told CAJ News Africa they could however not provide a statistical report to rate the facility for 2021.
Butha-Buthe borders with the Free State Province of South Africa.
Domestically, it borders on Mokhotlong District in southeast and Leribe District on the south.
Tourist arrivals in Lesotho have fluctuated in recent years coinciding with COVID-19.
Arrivals peaked through 2000 to 2019, ending with 1,14 million visitors.
Tourism contributes 2.5 percent of Lesotho’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Most of the country’s visitors come from Africa and Europe.
– CAJ News