The Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture through the Department of Tourism as well as the Lesotho Tourism Development Cooperation ( LTDC) celebrated World Tourism Day which was held in Semonkong on the 27th September 2017 and this year’s theme was Sustainable Tourism, a Tool for Development. The event was graced by the presence of the Honourable Minister ‘M’e ‘Mamotsie Motsie together with her senior management team from the Ministry as well as other Honourable Ministers from various Ministries who showed their support in accompanying her to the event. The celebration was officiated by Semonkong’s chief Tsietsi Mathibeli who thanked LTDC for hosting the event in Semonkong which is home to one of the country’s most important attractions, The ‘Maletsunyane Falls which is featured in the Guinness World Records as the highest single drop falls in the world.
In her official speech, the Honourable Minister ‘M’e ‘Mamotsie said Lesotho is very beautiful country which is famous for its mountains, rivers and valleys that can collectively contribute to the economy and create jobs. She added that Ministry is yet to make ‘Maletsunyane accessible through the construction of tourism information centre and accommodation. The Honourable Ministers were also given a chance to address the community and students who attended the event, they also handed awards to schools that won the sustainable development debate competition.The Semonkong community also gave their testimonies on how much they gain from tourism and its related activities and this was visible when the dignitaries toured the stalls and bought some crafts which were on display for sale. The Chief Executive officer for LTDC Mr Mpaiphele Maqutu encouraged the community to hold hands together in order to benefit more from tourism as ‘Maletsunyane Falls attracts a lot of tourists.
In preparation for this big day, the LTDC in conjunction with Travel and Tourism students from various institutions of higher learning had undertaken various cleaning campaigns in and around the Moshoeshoe 1 International Airport as well as the Tikoe Industrial area of which the latter was even attended by Her Majesty the Queen ‘M’e ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso. These campaigns were conducted not only on behalf of the communities in the areas but for the sake cleanliness in the environment because those routes are used by tourists as they enter and depart the country through the airport because first impressions last. Another campaign that was undertaken by the LTDC in preparation for this year’s World Tourism Day was a tourism competition that was held at (Examination Council of Lesotho) ECOL in conjunction with the National Curriculum Development Centre where various high schools participated to test their knowledge about tourism which is now part of the national curriculum. This was done so as to stimulate an interest in tourism from a young age as tourism has the potential to assist students to create jobs for themselves instead of waiting to be employed.