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LTDC fights to revive tourism

. . . expects 80 percent decline in revenue earnings due to Covid-19

Katleho Motumi

THE Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) is working hard to revive the tourism sector which has been ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, public relations officer, Molapo Matela, has said.

In a recent interview with the Sunday Express, Mr Matela said the sector has suffered immensely from Covid-19-induced restrictions. Under the stringent restrictions currently in place, international travel is banned. Operating hours for most businesses have also been cut.

Local tourism outlets rely on foreign visitors who, according to statistics, surpassed 1 million annually before the outbreak of the pandemic at the beginning of last year and the resultant lockdowns.

However, the sector has suffered a great deal as the lockdowns have curtailed international travel. Where tourists have been allowed in, the travelling costs have significantly gone up due to additional costs associated with obtaining the Covid clearance certificates. A PCR Covid-19 test costs anything from M750 upwards in the country.

Mr Matela said events like Moshoeshoe Walk, which usually bring in tourists were not held due to the Covid-19 related restrictions.

“Revenue generating activities like the Moshoeshoe Walk, the Letofe music festival, the Maletsunyane Braai Festival and many others were put on hold due to Covid-19,” Mr Matela said

“Such events are mostly patronised by tourists from South Africa and other southern African countries.”

He however, said the LTDC is working hard to help businesses in the sector to survive during the pandemic. Among the initiatives are promotional campaigns and investment projects to help businesses remain afloat.

The corporation has also been taking students on familiarisation tours to different destinations. It is also using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter in promoting its activities.

According to statistics from the LTDC, Lesotho has generally received in excess of M844 million in revenue from tourism in the years before the Covid-19 outbreak. But the LTDC is expecting this year’s revenue to drop by 80 percent due to the pandemic.

Accommodation establishments have also suffered because whenever there are restrictions in place. This has cost thousands of jobs with hotels like Mpilo Boutique folding up completely.

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