LTDC in internet marketing drive

MASERU — The Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) last Friday launched a new website to market the country to tourists.

Speaking at the official launch in Maseru, LTDC acting chief executive officer, Nthabiseng Monoko, said the website will seek to improve international visibility for the local tourism sector.

It will also seek to promote Lesotho as the destination of choice for tourists, she said.

“The primary aim is to develop a standalone world-class website to market the tourism sector in Lesotho and showcase the investment opportunities in Lesotho,” Monoko said.

She said the website will provide comprehensive information to international tourists about the services offered by tour operators and local tourism businesses.

Lesotho’s tourism industry has suffered over the years due to lack of visibility in international markets due to poor use of modern technologies.

Most of the country’s tourism facilities are not marketed on websites, the major means through which tourists from Western countries can access what the country has to offer. The LTDC had continued to use traditional marketing tools such as magazines and brochures to market the country to tourists.

“Many of the traditional marketing tools used by LTDC have both high set-up and high operating costs.

“The set-up costs for the website are also high. However, they are still comparatively lower with increased visibility for the local private sector,” Monoko said.

She said the website will help the LTDC collect statistics on the activities that are popular with tourists and provide data on where most tourists are coming from.

“Investing in online marketing creates opportunities to allow LTDC to conduct analysis on where most visitors come from and where interest lies,” she said.

LTDC head of marketing, Tebello Thoola, said the website has two micro sites, one for travel while the other highlights the investment opportunities available to foreign investors.

“The site will display the accommodation establishments and everything about those establishments including prices, attractions and other aspects that will be on offer,” Thoola said.

He said local accommodation establishments will be offered an opportunity to display their tourist packages on the website for free to increase their visibility on the international market.

Speaking at the same occasion, Lesotho Council for Tourism chief executive officer, ‘Matiisetso Libetso, urged the LTDC to conduct a vigorous marketing campaign to drive traffic to the website.

“We hope the web will be alive and will be constantly updated so that it will appeal to potential tourists. We are pleased with this initiative and hope it will improve to cater for online bookings,” Libetso said.

Marotholi Khali, the chairperson for the Lesotho Hotels Association, said they hoped the website will be an effective marketing tool for the tourism sector.

“This is a good initiative which will allow the local tourism industry to improve and at the same time provide a platform to use the internet to advertise our businesses,” he said.

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