from THABISO MAHLOKOHLA in Maseru, Lesotho
MASERU, (CAJ News) – THE revival of the Lesotho Council of Tourism (LCT) is expected to safeguard the operations and growth of the sector.
Representatives of 13 tourism and hospitality associations have formalised the LCT under the auspices of the government of Lesotho and the country’s Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC).
LCT has been lying dormant since its initial establishment in 2009 and has not contributed much to the growth of the industry.
Advocate Makhetha Motsoari, Chairperson of the LCT board, said the re-establishment of the LCT was a show of confidence by the LTDC in local tourism industry practitioners to the growth of the industry.
He said the LCT board, together with the hired consultant, identified areas of concern that hindered the growth of tourism and came up with a benchmark for that would enable the sector’s development.
“We realised that tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors that had the potential to contribute immensely to the country’s GDP,” Motsoari said.
He said Lesotho is one of the top five travel destinations in Africa but local players were not engaged in a meaningful way.
“We have therefore decided to re-establish the LCT as a body that will look at these issues, among others,” Motsoari said.
Some 13 tourism and hospitality associations have been identified to form the initial cohort of the LCT but any sectors that have a role in the growth of the sector would be incorporated.
Among the organisations under the banner of the LCT include tour operators and guides associations; hotels and hospitality establishments; parks and wildlife association; catering and liquor services providers; event management companies, chefs’ associations; hiking clubs, travel agents and other outdoor activities.
Motsoari said lack of funding had impacted on the LCT previously, hence he welcomed the involvement of government.
Of immediate concern is the capacitation and skills development of local players in the industry.
LCT will work with established and experienced international players operating in Lesotho and beyond in order to build confidence in the country’s tourism industry.
Khabiso Nkune, another member of the association, who is also chairperson of the Lesotho Tour Operators Association, also welcomed the re-establishment of the LCT.
She said since the advent of COVID-19, individual tour operators had mushroomed in Lesotho.
“We need to maintain a good reputation and safeguard the industry hence a body such as the LCT would look into issues of capacity building, skills provision as well as monitoring and evaluation of the industry in order to effectively sell Lesotho as one of Africa’s top tourism destinations,” Nkune said.
– CAJ News