THE Tourism and Hospitality Awards (TAHA) held last month will inspire Lesotho’s tourism sector, the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) has said.
The inaugural edition of the awards was held on 27 September 2021 at Auusima Park, in Berea.
The awards were the culmination of a collaboration between Maluti Xtreme Events and the LTDC.
LTDC public relations officer, Molapo Matela, said the event was meant to celebrate Tourism Day, which is commemorated annually on 27 September. The 2021 celebrations were held under the theme: Tourism for Inclusive Growth.
Mr Matela said the theme was meant to ensure that “all role players in the realm of tourism are empowered, motivated and supported in an effort to reboot tourism to realise its potential in reviving the economy”.
He said the tourism awards were initiated by Maluti Xtreme Events to recognise and celebrate outstanding tourism businesses that are working hard to provide quality service, innovation and excellence across all sub-sectors within the tourism and hospitality industry.
Awards were given to winners in 15 categories which included hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfast, lodges, rural home stays, tour operators, travel agencies, tour guides, spas, hiking clubs and chefs among others. The winners were selected by the public through a messaging voting system and the nominees with the highest number of votes were declared the winners.
Mr Matela hailed the awards as a step in the right direction towards ensuring competitiveness of Lesotho’s tourism packages.
“Appreciation goes to individual businesses for ensuring that tourists get the best tourism experiences whenever they travel around the country,” Mr Matela said.
“The event is a step in the right direction towards ensuring global competitiveness for Lesotho while inspiring the sector.”
He also encouraged locals to visit local tourist attraction sites to champion domestic tourism.
After being voted the Best Tour Operator of The Year, the director and founder of Tsela Tours, Kemang Leluma, said he was excited.
“Tourism awards elevate the local industry to greater heights and make the country a competitive tourism destination. It’s our utmost responsibility as the private sector to ensure provision of excellent service delivery to both local and international tourists declared Leluma.
Speaking during the awards, Maluti Xtreme Events founder and director, Moseli Nthunya, said the event was meant to provide a platform for networking and sharing of ideas by likeminded businesses in the industry.
“Tourism has been identified as a priority sector by the government in the drive to create employment and alleviate poverty. By organising the rewards, we saw it befitting to reward those businesses and individuals striving to raise the bar of Lesotho’s tourism offering to meet international standards, at the same time creating employment opportunities,” Ms Nthunya said.