Lesotho through the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Tourism Day on September 27 under the theme â€œTourism for inclusive growthâ€.
Speaking at the celebration ceremony held in Maseru, the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture Ntlhoi Motamai indicated that from the beginning of September she has been raising awareness about September being a month chosen by United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) as tourism month.
â€œI went on to call upon different stakeholders to contribute in improving the countryâ€™s economy through tourism,â€ she said.
Motsamai indicated that, this yearâ€™s theme is in line with the governmentâ€™s mandate that identified tourism as one of the pillars of the economy, creation of jobs and elimination of poverty according to the second National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP II).
â€œThis day gives us an opportunity to look back and look into the running of the tourism industry during Covid-19. As the Ministry we have realized the challenges facing the industry like restriction of movement and closure of tourism businesses,â€ she said.
She indicated however, that the ministry together with the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) tried several strategies to rebuild the tourism industry by holding workshops for tour guides in Botha Bothe, Leribe, Maseru and Quthing, creating advertising platforms to inform people about tourist attraction sites throughout the country.
â€œWe have also realized that private companies are venturing into the tourism industry even in the times of covid-19. We are also motivated by the way at which the government has progressed in the vaccination program against covid-19 because that gives promise and protection of tourists from other countries or in the country,â€ she said.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Newsday, the CEO of LTDC Sehlabaka Ramafikeng, indicated that in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism events and activities were being regarded as super spreaders and as a result they were restricted.
â€œBut we are glad a lot of people are getting vaccinated and if people continue to get vaccinated will help us to go back to where we used to be before covid-19 in terms of tourism. Tourists should also make sure that, to any place they go they leave some money to improve the lives of people around that place. They should not just go and leave without making any change,â€ he said.