The future of Lesotho’s tourism development lies in the implementation of tourism levy by Lesotho Tourism Development Cooperation (LTDC) but only if more enterprises register and rethink tourism.
Oct. 21, 2022
BY MAPAMELA KHANYELA
4 min read
Future of Lesotho tourism depends on tourism levy
These home-made items symblise Lesotho to tourists
Metro Audio Articles
Catch our weekly audio news daily only on Metro Radio Podcast News.listen now
This was the strong message from Tebello Thoola who was representing Chief Executive Officer of LTDC at the celebration of World Tourism Day on September 27 2022. The celebration was held at Lesotho Avani hotel in Maseru. The theme of this year is Rethinking Tourism.
Mr. Thoola said there were 82 enterprises that have registered with the cooperation and LTDC was expected to collect revenue for the promotion of domestic, regional and internationally tourism. He said it was important for more stakeholders to come on board and register adding that they expected to collect revenue for the sake of tourism sector and help in capacity building, promote and market Lesotho.
“The tourism levy was implemented in August 2022 and there is a positive progress, therefore we encourage private tourism businesses to come forward and register with LTDC for development of this sector,” said Thoola.
Tourism Levy regulations were published in a government gazette in 2021 by former Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane. The regulations indicated that 50% of the levy collected per year would be used for maintenance of tourism products and tourism entities through instalment of tourism specific signage, capacity building, including marketing tourism destination as well as training of front liners in tourism industry. A 30% of the levy would be used for the administration of the cooperation, while 10% would be used for policy and the last 10% would be retained for investment purposes.
The regulations further states that collection of the revenue will be from key players of tourism industry such as accommodation enterprises, tour operators as well as travel tour operators.
Mr Thoola further indicated that there was a positive progress despite restrictions of Covid-19 pandemic in the past few years. “There were efforts done by private businesses to ensure that there were tourism activities in the country such as hiking, camping and leisure tourism,” he said adding those activities were thriving despite the harsh realities of the pandemic.
Advocate Makhetha Motšoari, who is the chairperson of Lesotho Tourism Council (LTC) believes that tourism stakeholders should provide the best services, and “accommodation is one of the vital elements of tourism, and we should have high level facilities for tourism. Attractions should be accessed easily. We also need good relations among the stakeholders of tourism such as government and communities.”
Advocate Makhetha Motsoari, chairperson of the Lesotho Tourism Council
Enjoy our daily newsletter from today
Access exclusive newsletters, along with previews of new media releases.
Some of the products exhibited during the Tourism Day
Advocate Motšoari concluded that domestic tourism played important role for economic growth of the country and encouraged Basotho to travel more locally, take care of heritage places and respect practices of local people as they make it a norm to travel to diverse heritage places in Lesotho.
General Manager of Lesotho Avani hotel Avani Mr. Willem Van Heerden echoed the words of Advocate Motšoari, promising to provide the best services in tourism industry. “We have a budget of 25 million to revamp our casinos, accommodation facilities. We also have a plan to revamp our rooms into apartments at Maseru Avani and also rebrand ourselves, all these processes will take about 18 months,” he explained.
In an interview on the sidelines of the event, Mr. Simollang Moshoeshoe, who works at well-known Basotho Hat embraced the celebration of tourism day. “We feel privileged and feel responsibly to make tourism industry thrive through our products. This celebration is important to us because we are going to meet new clients and even sell. It is at this time of the year that we meet most of our clients, when tourism industry is flourishing, we make money as more tourists come to us,” he said.
Mr. Moshoeshoe sells baskets and Basotho hats in Maseru for local and international tourists. He buys the grass as a raw material in Thaba Putsoa and send it to different manufactures of his products and collect them as finished products.
‘Maleloko Kabi, a seasoned businesswoman who has been in tourism industry for 33 years said she had been looking forward to this day because it afforded them the opportunity to network with new and potential clients. “The celebration of this day is a reminder that our contribution into economic growth of our country is recognized. We are looking forward to meet some of our customers at this time of the year with borders now open,” she said.
Meanwhile, the World Tourism Day is celebrated globally on September 27th. The celebrations started in 1980 and this year’s celebration was held in Indonesia. The celebration at Lesotho Avani was characterized with music of local artists such as Selimo Thabane and Thaabe Letsie, known as Ntate Stunna in music industry.