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‘Tourism, communications ministries must collaborate’

by Lesotho Times
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Mohalenyane Phakela

THE Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture (MTEC) and the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology (MCST) must collaborate to ensure smooth digital communication throughout the country now that tourism has gone digital.

This was said by the minister in the Prime Minister’s office, Temeki Tṧolo, who is also the acting minister of Tourism.

Mr Tṧolo made the remarks at the country’s World Tourism Month commemoration launch at the Maseru Border Tourism Information Kiosk this week.

Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has marked the month of September as a tourism month, with the World Tourism Day commemorated on 27 September each year to underline the significance of tourism in economic development.

This year’s World Tourism Month is celebrated under the theme, ‘Tourism and Digital Transformation’ and the commemorations on Monday also severed as the launch of the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) mobile phone application, Lesotho Guider.

The application can be downloaded on any android powered phone via the Google Play Store.

Mr Tṧolo, his principal secretary Monaphathi Maraka and the LTDC chief executive officer, Mpaiphele Maqutu, joined the rest of the LTDC staff in handing out flyers marketing the new application to travellers.

In his remarks he said it was important for the MTEC and the MCST to collaborate work to ensure effective use of the application.

“I have no doubt that the digital marketing platform put in place by the LTDC will create more awareness, encourage international tourism players to visit Lesotho while also educating the world about potential tourism offerings that this country has to offer,” Mr Tṧolo said.

“A modern tourist would want to constantly communicate with family back home, send pictures and use the internet and take videos to share the experience of the magnificent landscape, culture, lifestyle and attractions.

“All these technology and innovation channels cannot be achieved if the government does not put in place proper digital infrastructure. Therefore, it is important for joint efforts of the MTEC and the MCST to cooperate to achieve this common goal.”

The minister also commended the joint work between different agencies at the border to allow smooth services for tourists including tourism information officers, immigration, the Lesotho Revenue Authority, National Security Services, Port Health and the traffic department.

Furthermore, Mr Maqutu indicated that besides the mobile application, the LTDC has “reinforced robust digital platforms such as digital LCD mirror screens, promotional tourism videos, digital LED billboards and the tourism website along with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram”.

“All these technology efforts are important to harness innovation and digital advances to provide tourism with opportunities to improve inclusiveness, local community empowerment and efficient resource management amongst other objectives.

“The corporation is also strongly pushing the domestic tourism drive to create more awareness, educate and encourage locals to know tourism attractions and facilities by way of visiting these places and spending money there to create jobs and improve lives of the communities.

“The tourism month that we launch today — a result of much effort and hard work — aims to provide accurate, useful and directional tourism information to users who seek information about Lesotho to experience the beauty of physical landscape, spectacular mountain scenery, magnificent man-made dams and our high altitude,” Mr Maqutu said.

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