T-CONNEXION Managing Director, Thabo Maretlane, says Lesotho’s tourism sector was an “untapped gold” whose potential was not being fully harnessed due to poor planning and the country’s negative international image.
Mr Maretlane made the remarks on Tuesday at Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village while updating media representatives and sponsors on preparations for the 10th annual Moshoeshoe Walk scheduled for March next year. The historic walk was founded by T-Connexion in 2007 and traces the route King Moshoeshoe I and his people took as they fled from his birthplace Menkhoaneng to Thaba Bosiu during the Lifacane period.
He said the tourism sector had the potential to boost the economy and provide employment if properly exploited.
“The high unemployment rate in the country can only be addressed through a properly executed strategy to boost tourism. We have a beautiful country that needs to be marketed well to attract tourists,” Mr Maretlane said.
“Lesotho has a rich cultural heritage which we are failing to make full use of so that people from other nations can come to appreciate.”
He said Basotho were failing to continue the legacy of the nation’s founder, Moshoeshoe I, who raised the profile of Lesotho among the community of nations.
“Moshoeshoe I remains the wisest king in the history of Africa who was able secure this beautiful land we call home and bring different clans together to form one nation,” said Mr Maretlane.
“It is high time we became ambassadors of this country and portray it in a positive light to other nations. We should be regarded as the Switzerland of Africa once again and work hard to erase the negative image of political instability that has dented our motherland.”
Speaking of the Moshoeshoe Walk, which has attracted immense interest from locals and foreign tourists over the years, Mr Maretlane said next year’s event would also commemorate Lesotho’s 50th Independence anniversary with many fun-filled activities.
“The walk will encompass a lot of traditional activities such as performances of the Mokhibo and Mohobelo dances at the resting places,” he said.
“We are also planning a traditional celebration event on the night we arrive in Thaba Bosiu with Famo, Ntlamo, Mokhibo, Mohobelo and other cultural games played at the Thaba Bosiu Cultural Festival.”
The walk will start off in Maseru on Wednesday 9 March 2016 towards Menkhoaneng, and then proceed the following day to Thaba Bosiu on Saturday. The entrance fee has been increased from M700 to M1 000 and the tickets are already available.