LTDC development initiatives undertaken in the Matsoku and Bokong Community councils
Over the years there have been concerns about the inhospitality, negativity towards foreign visitors by the host communities at different parts of the kingdom. These attitudes are attributed to the lack of understanding of the full potential of the benefits engendered by tourism. In an effort to root out this behaviour, the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) routinely undertakes public awareness campaigns; the public awareness campaigns are largely an issue of educating members of the community about the value of tourism. The corporation also encourages community participation in tourism related activities and businesses which saw the initiation of tourism development committees within Matsoku and Bokong Community Councils in the Leribe district.
The committee is made up of various stakeholders consisting of Teachers, Chiefs, Community councils, Lesotho Mounted Police (LMPS), culture and heritage, pony trekking, artisans and tour guides members. The main mandate of the committee is to catalyse tourism development in these areas.
Thus, the corporation in collaboration with Ministry of Tourism Environment and Culture, LMPS and the Tourism development committee undertook a community awareness campaigns at Ha Seshote and Ha Ntšeli in the Leribe district. The event was attended by community at large including traditional herdsmen, herd boys, youth and community council’s representatives. Among issues discussed include the importance of everyone’s roles as tourism ambassadors and sustainable tourism development. A commendable participation by the youth, taking part in discussions was noted.
The Public Relations Manager of LTDC Manchafalo Motšoeneng said every member of the community has a role to play in enhancing tourism in their locality. The manager advised the community to protect and preserve the environment in order to attract potential tourists and for future generations to benefit from tourism and attractions within the area. “Our vision is to see full participation of communities around the Matsoku area in tourism development initiatives that will mature to become big tourism projects”, the Public Relations Manager (LTDC) noted. The Manager eloquently narrated a sample tourism model which portrays and showcases how each of the tourism element operator (including tour guides, crafters, story-tellers, historians to mention a few) can contribute to ensure that Matsoku tourism product offering encourages visitors to stay longer in the area.
During the same occasion Assistant Tourism Officer- Nqheku Matolo advised the community to invest in rural homestays and other tourism activities. Matolo said. The communities of Ha Seshote and Ha Ntšeli are very lucky as they are strategically located en route to a renowned Katse Dam. Matolo reiterated that Lesotho is fortunate to possess prosperity of tourism resources, such as breath taking scenery and exceptional cultural identity; features which captivates the traveler” all is needed is to providently optimize these assets to generate income for our families explained Matolo
The Manager of Bokong Nature Reserve (MTEC) Ms. Mantoa Moiloa appealed to the community to preserve medicinal plants and the rare wild life and birds that inhabits our beautiful Kingdom in the Sky. In recent years our indigenous plants and animal species have been gradually diminishing ,if we don’t use our plants sustainably and continue to kill our wild inhabitants that will be unfortunate for future generation as we would have failed them notified Moiloa. Moreover, the Bokong Nature Reserve avails an opportunity for locals residing in neighbourhood to send their products to be sold to tourists and no fee is charged for providing this service concluded Moiloa. On the other hand, the Police also urged members of the community to refrain from any form of harassment of tourists. He further encouraged parents to sensitise their children about the importance hospitality as well as repercussions in the event of violation of the law or engagement in inhospitable behaviour.