BASOTHO have been urged to embrace tourism as it has potential of driving the country’s economy growth.
Lesotho Tourism and Development Corporation (LTDC) public relations officer Molapo Matela made the call in an interview with the Sunday Express.
This follows recent meetings the LTDC and other stakeholders held with communities in Katse in the Thaba-Tseka district to sensitise them on tourism initiatives.
The public gatherings on the 22 and 23 June were organised by the Tourism Development Trust Committees (TDTC) in the Katse catchment area.
The committees were formed last month as an initiative to promote local tourism and circulate revenue in the country by LTDC in order to boost the local economy.
Each committee is made up of 13 members drawn from teachers, taxi operators, hospitality establishments, traditional artistes, artisans, the police, entrepreneurs and the local community.
Mr Matela said tourism had been identified as one of the key drivers for the nation’s economy.
“People need to embrace the opportunity that is presented to them, they need to be educated on how to take care and benefit from tourists who visits their places,” Mr Matela said.
He said one of the main objectives of the committee was to help identity tourism attractions in the Katse area, nurture and preserve the attractions while also encouraging the community to be hospitable to tourists who visited their area.
He further said the meetings would help prepare the community to embark on income generating projects and activities.
“We want people to produce quality products that can be displayed in hotels and other tourism establishments,” he said.
A community member, Ms Mateboho Hlalele expressed optimism the initiative would improve livelihood in the area.
She said they were advised to build huts that could be rented out to the tourists.
“They advised us to build huts and cook traditional meals which can be sold to tourists, instead of us begging and mistreating them,” she said.
“I have already started to gather material that I will need for the hut. We were told not to try anything fancy but to stick to our traditional huts,” she gladly related.
A committee member, Tholang Thuela said the “public gatherings educated the public about the benefits of tourism and we also act as a link between the community and hotel establishment”.
He said the initiative would definitely improve their lives as the committees would do all they could to ensure they educate communities on the importance of tourism.
The government has identified tourism as a priority sector to create employment and alleviate poverty.