THE recent commemoration of a 10th anniversary of Scenery Guest House’s decade of service has highlighted the lack of investment into the hospitality sector which leaves the country falling short in hosting enough tourists to stimulate the economy.
This was said by the chief executive officer of Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC), Mpaiphele Maqutu, who called for more investment into the hospitality sector.
Addressing the audience at a recent reception hosted by Scenery Guest House to mark its 10th anniversary, Mr Maqutu said the country is missing a glaring opportunity to attract more tourist arrivals.
Mr Maqutu said many surrounding South Africa towns were flourishing due to their exceptional hospitality facilities that are specifically targeting tourists bound for Lesotho.
“For a long time we as Basotho have shied away from entering the tourism sector while looking on as other people made in roads and carved a living out of it,” Mr Mqutu said.
“I am therefore challenging our people to take interest in this sector because there is life in it. For example, the surrounding South African towns such as Clarence, Fouriesburg, Ficksburg and Ladybrand among others have grown as a result of Lesotho tourism. The product that is being sold in those facilities is Lesotho.”
He explained that tourists visit Lesotho during the day and retreat to lodge in the hospitality establishments that have been set up in the South African towns that are strategically located along the border.
“This way they leave very little money in our country while bulk is spend on their lodgings on the other side of the border.”
Mr Maqutu congratulated owners of Scenery Guest House for their business achievement in a short space of time. The company, which started from the bottom with just three employees, today employs 24 permanent workers and between its Stadium and Maqalika guest houses has an accommodation capacity of 62 visitors.
“I congratulate you for this amazing feat you have achieved and I can only hope it inspires other people to follow suit, because we need more establishments like this one to receive more tourists into the country.”
‘Mamothe Mohapi, president of Lesotho Hotels and Hospitality Association (LHHA), said having adequate hospitality facilities in the would afford country an opportunity to host international conferences and generate more income in the process.
She further the rapid growth of Scenery Guest House is a shining example for what the rest of the hospitality industry is capable of.
“This brand has done so well that it has surpassed many of those which were established before it. I hope more facilities from the Scenery brand are on the way,” Ms Mohapi said.
For his part, the director of Scenery Guest Houses, Mohau Sekhiba said establishing their second guesthouse at Maqalika demonstrates the kind of growth they achieved despite the numerous challenges they encountered over the past ten years.
“It has not been an easy journey at all for us as we had to work very hard to arrive where we are today,” Mr Sekhiba said.
Managing director ‘Marethabile Sekhiba explained that the idea to establish a hospitality facility is as a direct response to the existing challenge of people lodging in South Africa yet working in Lesotho.
“We dreamt of establishing a high-quality service hospitality facility in Lesotho,” Ms Sekhiba said.
“With our high quality service culture, we want our patrons to arrive as visitors but leave as friends who will go out there and tell others about the reception we gave. For us one visit is not enough.”
She however, added that the tourism sector is not as straightforward as it seems, since it is a service consumed by foreigners.
“In the tourism sector we have a higher responsibility because ours is an export service, that we must utilize to our advantage to drive our economy since know the great challenge of creating jobs that our country is faced with.
“If we can position ourselves well as a country, by using this treasure bestowed upon us by God that is called tourism, we can transform this country from where it currently is,” Ms Sekhiba said.
Scenery Guest House also used its 10th anniversary celebration to unveil a new corporate brand it will now be recognized under going forward.