We at Newsmakers & Noisemakers, N&N hereafter, love to read about money. Words like profit and millions literally jump out of a story to catch our attention.
And this was the case this week when we read about how Lesotho’s tourism industry grew 35 percent, and revenue shot past M200 million.
The importance of this news to all Basotho cannot be overstated.
More tourists means more business. More business means more jobs. Tourism has become one of the biggest employers in the world. The World Tourism Council estimates that travel and tourism provides employment for more than 100 million people worldwide and it is high time Lesotho took its deserved place on the world tourism map.
Also, tourism offers a chance for the country to move away from its dependence on diamonds and water as major GDP contributors.
Besides, unlike mining and other industries which seriously damage the environment, tourism –– if sustainably managed –– can ensure that the country’s natural beauty can be preserved for generations to come.
The fact that the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) is encouraging hotels to target tourists who usually visit for a day but sleep over in South Africa is also a big plus.
There is tremendous business potential in tourism and the smart investor will consider this industry.
A word of caution, though, to the LTDC. Only last week, experts in Egypt warned that the famed tombs of the pharaohs in that country were in danger of disintegrating, largely thanks to the sheer number of visitors who enter them every day.
The long-term growth and sustainability of tourism in this country is as important as the preservation of the natural resources and communities where the tourists go.