THE Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) says it will use this year’s World Tourism Day celebration on 27 September in Semonkong to attract more investment into the sector in order to drive economic development.
LTDC Public Relations Manager ‘Manchafalo Motsoeneng told a press conference in Maseru that tourism was one of the key sectors that had been identified by government to contribute towards economic development.
Although Lesotho is yet to establish its own Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), the tourism sector is currently estimated to be contributing about three percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The TSA is a standard statistical framework for the economic measurement of tourism. It was developed by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) and the United Nations Statistics Division.
Ms Motsoeneng said they were working with the Bureau of Statistics (BOS) to establish Lesotho’s TSA which is expected to be launched soon.
She said they were therefore going to raise awareness on affordable business opportunities within the sector which can be used to improve lives.
“This year’s theme, ‘Sustainable Tourism- A Tool For Development’ speaks to us since our government has identified the sector one of those that are key to the eradication of hunger and fostering economic development,” Ms Motsoeneng said this week.
In line with this year’s theme, she said they would encourage the community of Semonkong to engage in sustainable tourism activities.
These include the preservation of natural resources and production and supply of tourism products.
She said the commemoration would also be used to highlight the contribution of tourism to the attainment of different Sustainable Development Goals.
“To us Basotho, the timing of this celebration jells with the fact that September is the beginning of the high season for tourism in this country because in spring and summer, tourism is in the minds of most people.”
For his part, Tebello Thoola from LTDC’s Strategic Marketing Division, said they had lined up several activities leading up to the commemoration day.
These include public gatherings to create awareness on the importance of protecting natural resources and the general importance of tourism and its benefits to the local community.
“We will also have stakeholder forums where sustainable tourism will be discussed in length,” Mr Thoola said.
There will also be a clean-up campaign around the town of Semonkong as well as an essay competition for students of tourism on sustainable tourism.