Welcome to the 2016 edition of Lesotho Tourism newsletter that furnishes you with information on the latest developments within the tourism industry in Lesotho. As Lesotho continues to pursue her dream of being the tourism hub in southern Africa, with every edition this publication will keep readers abreast of the latest developments towards realising that dream.
Please click here to open the online version of the 2017 LTDC Newsletter
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The 2016 newsletter may be downloaded as a PDF here
Botha Bothe Peach Festival – a blend of tourism, agriculture and small enterprise development initiatives
The Botha Bothe Peach Festival was established in 2013 with the intention to honor peach growers and processors for their contribution to national economy and to the food industry nationwide. This festival is usually held during the peach season in February to March every year.
As part of the initiatives to improve the services within the tourism industry, LTDC through the support from World Bank-financed Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project (PSCEDP I) established QUALStar grading programme in 2013. Based upon the Southern African Development Community (SADC)/Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA) standards, a set of grading criteria for six types of accommodations establishments: hotels, lodges, guesthouses, bed & breakfasts, self-catering units, and camping facilities was developed for the QUALStar programme. To further enhance the programme, a number of initiatives were done to support the programme including selection and training of assessors; development and roll-out of support to accommodation facilities’ operators with a view to engage them in the grading process. A number of sensitisation workshops were also held to create awareness of the importance of the programme to the industry in general and to disseminate information on QUALStar grading process.
According to UNWTO - an agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, whether it is for leisure, discovery of new things, meeting others or to have a unique experience, everyone has a right to tourism. This means, there are not, there should not be, and there cannot be two categories of human beings, those who can be tourists and those who can only receive them. These two activities are, in fact, but two sides of the same human activity; both of them are noble and respectable and everyone is entitled to them. From the perspective of Basotho, this implies that even though we expect foreign visitors to visit our country, we cannot just wait to receive them without us visiting our local destinations and attractions. In fact, domestic travel acts as a driver for promotion of international tourism because local travellers become ambassadors for tourism in their area of origin during their international travel and interaction with the world.
Harassment of tourists in the city centre and other remote parts of the country has recently become serious. This distorts Lesotho's tourism image, affecting its claim of being a safe destination with its citizens being renowned as hospitable and friendly, which we have been proud of. Consequent to the recent and probably ongoing corruption and harassment of tourists by some segments of the society, members of the tourism private sector cried foul over the said unbecoming acts. According to members of the private sector in the realm of tourism, their clients (tourists) are threatened, attacked and harassed by robbers and Lesotho's tourism image takes a beating, resulting in a negative impact on tourist businesses as seen from cancellation of bookings at accommodation facilities and decreased foreign arrivals to Lesotho. In principle, the general perception is that, authorities do take responsibility for security in their localities as expected. But the regarding the safety and security of tourists, so many reported cases have not been fully resolved.
In his welcoming remarks during the closing ceremony of the production of LTCC TV show, Mr Thabo Maretlane, on behalf of Thaba Bosiu cultural Village, urged Basotho to pride their selves in their culture and protect their heritage and promote Lesotho to be a destination of choice in the region.