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LTDC appoints new CEO

Bereng Mpaki

THE Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) has ended its long wait for a substantive chief executive officer (CEO).

This follows the 1 April 2022 appointment of former Institute of Development Management (IDM) director, Retšelisitsoe Nko. He replaces former substantive CEO, Mpaiphele Maqutu, who left the corporation in 2019.

LTDC’s head of research and development, Sehlabaka Ramafikeng, had held fort from the time of Mr Maqutu’s departure until Dr Nko’s recent appointment. Mr Ramafikeng reverts to his substantive post and for the next four years, Dr Nko will guide the LTDC ship.

The tourism body confirmed Dr Nko’s appointment in a weekend statement to the Sunday Express.

“The Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation is delighted to announce that Dr Retšelisitsoe Edward Nko has been appointed the new chief executive officer,” the LTDC said in its statement.

The corporation waxed lyrical about Dr Nko, saying he was bringing a wealth of experience as he was a renowned academic, researcher and consultant in global development financing and good governance. It also said he was a management consultant and project management specialist.

“He has contributed to the monitoring of the impact of travel and tourism study at the Canadian Tourism College while pursuing his qualifications in the International Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation in Carleton University in Canada.

“Dr Nko is a Doctor of Philosophy graduate in Governance and Transformation with a specialisation in Development Finance. He has a Master’s Degree in Governance, and an Honorary Doctorate in Governance and Transformation. He holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Law and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Sciences.

“He also holds a post-doctoral diploma in Corporate Governance, a Diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation; a Diploma in Project Management and a further Post-Doctoral Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health.

“He is also an expert in resource mobilisation and partnership building, which he deems a requirement for the tourism sector to remain relevant and sustainable

“Dr Nko has served in fields of innovation and advocacy, knowledge management, industrial relations and human capital development and as an arbitrator at the Directorate on Dispute Prevention and Resolution (DDPR),” the LTDC says in its statement.

The new LTDC boss has worked with the Mandela Institute of Development Studies in pioneering youth participation in the hospitality sector in South Africa.

He has worked at the United Nations Population Fund as an assistant representative; at the African Development Bank as project coordinator and most recently as country director for the Institute of Development Management.

He will have to summon all these skills and acumen to turn around the fortunes of the tourism sector which has been hit hard by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which broke out in late 2019.

Most countries around the world, including Lesotho, imposed hard lockdowns for much of 2020 and 2021 as part of efforts to fight the pandemic.

During that time, the tourism industry was severely crippled as cross-border travel was banned.

Most countries are only opening up their borders but the effects of the lockdowns will continue to be felt for a long time.

Apart from the effects of the pandemic, Dr Nko has his work cut out in devising strategies to ensure Lesotho benefits from its tourist attractions, some of which are often marketed around the world by neighbouring South Africa as its own.

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