The ILO is obviously not the only international organisation leading efforts to formulate and guide policy implementation around the globe, so it helps to read as widely as possible to get a general sense of where thought leadership efforts are headed.
Last week I focused on the tourism and hospitality sector and I propose to continue with that thematic exploration this week as well. Most efforts are now beginning to zone in on stimulating domestic tourism as part of economic recovery strategy. The reasons are obvious as outlined last week.
The question we now need to grapple with is, how do we stimulate a domestic tourism sector whose performance, before COVID-19, was quite underwhelming due to structural and regulatory factors? Do we even have a domestic tourism sector to speak of and draw from as we dialogue around this issue?
It is fair to say that our domestic tourism sector is still very much in its nascent stages and this presents a tremendous opportunity for us Basotho provided we shift our mindsets and see this as an opportunity to begin with.
It goes without saying that we need several enablers and chief among those would be a massive stimulus package from government targeting the relatively few existing establishments dotted around the country and new entrants into the sector. We have an unsettling graduate unemployment problem which we can solve, to a large extent, by formulating a set of policies and regulations informed by affirmative action principles in the domestic tourism sector.
Unemployed graduates must be supported with their interior capacity-building first through an intensive mindset shift programme. As they would tell you, they have been, “through the most.” Going through the most in your interior is a killer because you wrestle with thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and attitudes which can distort reality to a point where you can literally start hallucinating. Before throwing money at young people in a bid to stimulate their involvement in domestic tourism, heal their interiors first. Then, in the same intervention, impart hard skills that are needed for them to appreciate tourism and hospitality, drastically improve service levels, run the businesses in a fiscally disciplined manner and become whizzes at marketing.