LESOTHO Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC), in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Training, has begun awareness initiatives to promote the newly-introduced travel and tourism high school subject, including this week’s tour of the world-famous Semonkong resort.
This week, LTDC and ministry officials as well as media houses, students and teachers at Semonkong and St John Tlali High Schools undertook a tour of the tourist attractions in Semonkong.
Semonkong (loosely translated to mean the place of smoke) encompasses three districts of Maseru, Mohale’s Hoek and Quthing. It boasts among other attractions, the 192m waterfall which is the longest commercially operated single-drop abseil in the world as stated by Guinness World Records.
In addition, Semonkong has enchanting scenery with various outdoor activities for the visitor to choose from including pony trekking, camping, overnight trails, fly fishing, hiking, donkey pub crawl, mountain biking and rock climbing.
The delegation participated in some of the activities such as horse riding to the falls, sightseeing and hiking.
The tour was aimed at sensitising the students and teachers about the great tourist attractions within their vicinity while reflecting on the Travel and Tourism subject which is now part of their curriculum.
The ministry has been engaged in localising the subject from the Cambridge University International Examinations (CIE) syllabus with a view to introducing a localised version in schools next year in January after two years of pilot studies.
It was piloted in 2014 at Form E level in nine schools, namely – Sekonyela High School (Mokhotlong), Matlakala High School (Leribe), Assumption High School (Berea), St John Tlali High School (Maseru), Mathula High School (Mafeteng), Likuena High School (Mohale’s Hoek), Semonkong High School (Maseru), Holy Trinity High School (Quthing) and Katse High School (Thaba Tseka).
The initiative is part of the strategy to realise the goal of reducing unemployment and alleviating poverty, while promoting the growth of the tourism industry in Lesotho.
Thakane Koki, a Form E student at Semonkong High School, welcomed the introduction of the subject, saying it had equipped them with entrepreneurial skills.
“We have been doing the subject for two years now and we have found it very effective as it has helped us get better ideas of how we can get involved and benefit from tourism, Koki said.
“The subject has further equipped us with skills to venture into our own tourism businesses which do not require large capital such as renting out part of our houses to tourists, knowledge of different attractions and how to effectively explain to tourists which in turn makes us qualified tour guides.
“I intend to further my studies so that I can upgrade tourism in Semonkong and be an entrepreneur,” she said.
Sebaka ‘Molaoa who teaches at St John Tlali High School, said the course had not only helped the students but the community as well.
“Students pass on the knowledge they acquire in class to the rest of the community either to their parents when they get home or to their peers when they play.
“We used to have cases of tourists being beaten up by herd-boys or being asked to give handouts but since the introduction of the course that has reduced.
“The children are now able to offer great hospitality to guests as well as giving them relevant information regarding the attractions.
“We are looking forward to the localised version which will make it easier for the students to understand and know their country’s attractions better,” he said.