Africa-Press – Lesotho. Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Retšelisitsoe Nko has on Friday detailed strategies to revive the tourism industry following a slumber that was
necessitated by the pandemic. LTDC CEO said every last Friday of the month, the Corporation staff meets to implement and promote their marketing strategy.
Dr Nko also said through these engagements LTDC will engage with partners and stakeholders to explore means of enhancing the sector, adding that they are open to collaborations. The tourism industry has been one of the hardest-hit industries on account of the COVID-19 pandemic that occasioned stiff lockdowns. “Domestic strategy is based on two pillars; first that we promote the
visibility of Lesotho tourism products, services that can be offered, opportunities of diversification or offers of tourism in the country. The second pillar is marketing and branding.
We are harping around marketing initiatives that can make us first to be visible that we are a Corporation that exists in order to take over the mandate of marketing the country and branding
it both locally, sub-regionally and internationally. “But the first assignment we need to get right is branding ourselves, where we work… that we are a Corporation and parastatal of the government of
Lesotho mandated to ensure that we promote tourism products, services and offers,” he said. He also underscored the importance of the LTDC entering into
partnerships with different stakeholders. Tourism is one of the highly interconnected sectors that relies on other sectors for its performance. Lesotho is likely to experience a tourism surge as the government has
eased the COVID-19 sponsored restrictions that barred incoming movement and made it easy for the incoming travellers not to undergo the COVID-19 tests as
long as they hold the vaccination certificate. Dr Nko further mentioned that the private sector plays a critical role in the promotion and development of tourism products.
“And also private sector is vested with an economic platform to invest in the country, to ensure that there are products that they can be able to harness
some income from and we [can] leverage their services,” he said adding that the sector should know that it has a contributing effect on tourism in the
country. Asked what plans he has to revive the sector post-pandemic, the CEO said there are plans in place that are both modest and refined. He said the plan is
to develop “much more robust partnerships building and resource mobilisation”. Despite the country boasting heritage places, industrial sites and tourism investment areas, he cautioned that there is a shortage of resources to
upgrade them to a private sector competitive level. “So we are focusing on resource mobilisation and partnership building. ” Dr Nko added that they are
building on a three-tier strategy wherein they plan to partner with government structures, international community organisations as well as the private
sector. He further said they are eyeing “enclaving” the sub-region by making Lesotho popular and said the Corporation aims to develop the diaspora tourism
strategy, highlighting that they want to partner with renowned tourism industries and organisations to promote the “uniqueness and the beauty of our country and our natural heritage and untapped tourism sites”.
The last strategy that the Corporation needs to explore, he said is to invest in incapacitating the local organisation within the tourism industry, saying also in missions there ought to be tourism officers to sell the country
abroad. “The most important one is realigning the institution in order to have plans that are more inclined to implementing national strategic development
plan. We realise that some of the plans may be out of time and some of them have been overtaken by events. As an underlying theme, we are embracing Fourth
Industrial Revolution, your digital tourism promotion, your creative tourism promotion and innovative tourism promotion,” Dr Nko said. The National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) II 2018/2019 – 2022/2023
has earmarked tourism as one of the job creation and economic growth contributing sectors in the country. Meanwhile, the Corporation will later this week capacitate the key
players within the tourism sector with the implementation of the tourism levy. LTDC is a government agency charged with the responsibility to promote tourism activities in the country and support this sector.