THE Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) on Thursday handed over M14 000 to the Semonkong Tourism Development Group (STDG) as part of the community’s benefit from its tourism attraction site.
The handover comes after the LTDC and the STDG signed an agreement that out of the annual gate collections from the Maletsunyane Falls, the community will get 10 percent. The money will be used to fund and establish community development projects to enhance livelihoods of villagers in the area.
After the LTDC collected M140 000 in the just ended 2020/21 financial year, Tourism, Environment and Culture Minister Lekhetho Rakuoane and the LTDC chief executive officer Sehlabaka Ramafikeng therefore, handed over the money to STDG.
STDG chairperson Lerula Ntai expressed gratitude to the LTDC for fulfilling its promise to the community.
“The amount may be small but if handled well, the money can achieve great things because humble beginnings can also grow,” Mr Ntai said.
While the community has bigger plans of like rehabilitating roads among others with the money, Mr Ntai pleaded with the Tourism minister to notify parliament of the dire roads situation in the area as well as the need for electricity and water connections to improve their tourism revenue.
“With good roads, electricity and piped water, our services will improve and attract more people. This will eventually mean more revenue for us.”
For his part, Mr Ramafikeng said his organisation was working hard to strengthen community participation in attraction sites including Semonkong with its Maletsunyane Falls.
The efforts are meant to enhance tourism experience and tourists’ length of stay in the destination areas.
“This means that next year again, the community will get another 10 percent of the total amount generated through gate-takings,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Advocate Rakuoane advised the STDG to be innovative and creative to attract tourism. He added that they can use some of the money to improve the attraction site and boost income.
“I understand that you have a lot of challenges among them bad roads but I suggest that you can invest in a few motorcycles that you can use to drive tourists around the attraction site.
“You can also use your horses for tourists’ rides when they park their vehicles safely. This is the creativity that I am talking about. You must think out of the box,” Adv Rakuoane said.