business

April 11, 2022

KABELO MASOABI

3 min read

Polihali earmarked tourist destination

Polihali earmarked tourist destination

Tourists embracing the beauty of Lesotho mountains

Story highlights

  • Lesotho highlands offer amazing tourism business
  • Tourism has been identified as one of the fastest growing sectors in Lesotho

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LESOTHO is one of the top five travel destinations in Africa but local players are not engaged in a meaningful way, says tour operator Khabiso Nkune, who is also an executive member of the revived Lesotho Council of Tourism (LCT).

She is also the managing director of the Mokhotlong Expeditions, Tourism Development Corporation (METDC).

In a bid to promote the local tourism business and Lesotho as a tourist destination, Ms Nkune said several tourism business bodies were planning tours and expeditions around the country to expose host communities to the business opportunities offered by the industry.

In particular, she said Lesotho highlands endowed with multi-million maloti dams, had added to the country’s attraction sites that tourism players such as METDC and the Lesotho Highlands Development Corporation (LHDC) had embarked in an initiative to sensitise the Polihali community on tourism opportunities on offer in the region.
“We aim to promote the Polihali area as the next tourism attraction to visit,” she told Metro in an interview.
Trips, she said were being organised away from the hustle and bustle of Maseru to Ha Lejone through to Ha Seshote, where the road is mostly challenging and ideal for 4x4 trails.

“Participating tourists will also get to hike,” said Ms Nkune.

"Among many interesting places our tourists are going to tour include but not limited to the Polihali Dam and its diversion tunnel and the Letša Lea Luma Falls. This is where they will camp and be entertained by the host community. Cultural activities such as Pitiki (for women) and Khotla (for men) will form part of the events to unfold."

She said tourists would also visit the clan of the Batlokoa chieftainship, where they would also stay for the night to promote homestays business.

"We realise that tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors that has the potential to contribute immensely to the country's Gross Domestic Product,” she said.

"We have therefore decided to re-establish the LCT as a body that will look at these issues amongst others.”
For the forthcoming tours, she said the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) and the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) had marked the routes the tourists were going to travel.

“In order to reach out to beneficiaries of the programme, we want the communities to become aware that beyond the construction of Polihali Dam they can also sustain a livelihood through tourism,” she said.

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"We also have in our plans engaged local government councils and the area chiefs of the villages to be visited."
Ms Nkune, who has traveled extensively across Africa and Europe, said the revived council was expected to safeguard the operations and growth of the sector.
“There is a 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,” she said.  
LCT has been lying dormant since its initial establishment in 2009 and has not contributed much to the growth of the industry.

"We realise that tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors that has the potential to contribute immensely to the country's Gross Domestic Product,” added Ms Nkune.
She said representatives from 13 tourism and hospitality associations had formalised the LCT under the auspices of the government and the LTDC.
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.

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