MASERU — The refurbished Lesotho Sun Hotel and Casino was officially relaunched at a glittering ceremony in Maseru last Friday.
Speaking at the relaunch, Sun International chief executive officer, David Coutts-Trotter, said the refurbishment was “clear evidence of our confidence in the future stability and economic progress of this country”.
“The refurbishment project has been a fine example of a public-private partnership between Sun International and the government of Lesotho,” he said.
The refurbishment project which began in May last year cost a staggering M140 million with the government of Lesotho contributing M30 million.
“This contribution has further cemented the strong bonds of co-operation and collaboration that exist between us as we seek to develop the potential of Lesotho’s tourism sector,” said Coutts-Trotter.
The upgrade involved the renovation of the casino, 158 guest rooms, the conference area, the reception foyer, bars, buffet restaurant, kitchen and pool area.
The Sun International boss said particular attention was placed on the quality of the bedrooms to reflect the culture and traditions and the natural ambience of Lesotho.
“We are now able to offer our guests the finest and most luxurious accommodation in Lesotho,” he said.
“We now have showers in all rooms and suits, large flat screen televisions and plush furnishings.
“The tones of beige, brown and orange in the carpets and curtains, as well as the dark wood in the finishings, have been specifically selected to complement the hotel’s sandstone exterior.”
He said the football World Cup to be held in neighbouring South Africa in June could stimulate regional tourism.
“The event has the potential to stimulate regional tourism and raise awareness about regional tourism products, stimulating benefits that will extend for years beyond this exciting sporting occasion,” he said.
Coutts-Trotter said Lesotho with its spectacular scenery and rich prehistoric heritage was “ideally positioned to exploit its status as an internationally competitive tourism destination”.
Speaking at the relaunch, Deputy Prime Minister Lesao Lehohla said the government was determined to develop a strong and vibrant tourism sector.
“The government’s financial contribution to this refurbishment project should be seen as an integral part of our determination to develop a strong and vibrant tourism sector which contributes to sustainable economic growth, job creation, poverty alleviation and protection of natural and cultural heritage,” Lehohla said.
Lehohla said the government’s long-term vision was to market Lesotho as a primary destination, and change the current state where tourists stay in the country for short periods while spending the bulk of their time and money in South Africa.
He urged players in the tourism sector to expand and improve infrastructure and marketing of tours to increase tourism revenues through encouraging longer visits by tourists.
“It has for long been our objective to create an investor-friendly and competitive environment,” he said.