THE tourism sector is a high growth industry that has the potential to create millions of jobs and boost the country’s employment prospects, Tourism, Environment and Culture minister Joang Molapo has said.
Chief Molapo said this during the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation’s (LTDC) recent World Tourism Day celebrations at Sani Pass in Mokhotlong.
He said the industry contributed to 10.4 percent to the global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 and is projected to support 400 million jobs globally by 2028.
The celebrations were held under the theme: “Tourism and Jobs: Future for All”.
The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) recognises tourism as a labour intensive industry with manpower required at all stages of the value chain.
Chief Molapo said the ongoing boom across all subsectors in travel and tourism like flights and accommodation among others make tourism a high yield sector in terms of job opportunities and economic growth.
“Creation of jobs in the country’s tourism space is part of the solution to the challenges of poverty, high crime rate and low economic growth,” Chief Molapo said.
“Thus, Lesotho seeks to promote sustainable development through different initiatives, including improvement of the country’s tourism offerings, and travel experience.
“During this month (last month) of September, which happens to be tourism month, we focus our endeavors on domestic tourism in particular, using the period as an opportunity to inspire all Basotho to travel around the country under the slogan ‘Visit your country first’.
“Let us learn, explore and appreciate our magnificent mountain scenery, landscapes, natural and manmade dams, museums, dinosaur footprints, national parks, hot springs and bushman paintings and many other hidden treasures of the remarkable Kingdom in the sky.”
World Tourism Day is celebrated on 27 September annually with the view to underline the significance of tourism in economic development.
This year, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) emphasised the importance of tourism and jobs thereby informing the theme, “Tourism and Jobs: Future for All”.
LTDC head strategic marketing Tebello Thola told the Lesotho Times that the corporation was happy to celebrate the World Tourism Day in Mokhotlong.
He said the day was about ensuring that tourism and travel created jobs in the country with a view to eradicate poverty and contribute to the country’s economic growth.
Thola said Sani Pass had proven to be a top tourism destination attracting thousands of visitors from all over the world.
“Let us all continue to work harmoniously together to ensure that this very community, benefits more from tourism and the villagers’ lives are improved,” he said.
Spanish tourist Maria Divi Lumbreras, who travelled to Mokhotlong with her five friends for a two-day trip said she was glad that they chose Lesotho because of the memorable experience they had.
“We stayed in the village where and experienced the life here without electricity and running water. We were fascinated by the originality of the life here,” Ms Lumbreras said.