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Lesotho: Lesotho Tourism Profile



Lesotho enjoying travel and tourism growth
Travel and tourism in Lesotho is relatively new and still in its infancy. However, in the last few years, the country has made significant evolution towards tourism development. Arrivals, which is closely linked to visitors arriving from South Africa, is experiencing increase. In 2009, trade in tourism spending was up 2% from the previous year and the positive trend is expected to continue in the estimate period. Lesotho, which is sometimes dubbed the ‘Kingdom in the Sky’, has inherent physical and cultural qualities that make it suitable for tourism development and the government has undertaken measures to develop travel and tourism in the country.
Government fully committed to supporting travel and tourism
Travel and tourism in Lesotho has remained insignificant over the years due to low levels of development. It has the potential to generate income, create jobs and significantly improve the country’s economic wellbeing. Like most developing nations, Lesotho hopes to benefit from the increase in international travel and tourism. The government has identified it as of the key economic drivers and has pledged its support to the category. The government is focused on turning the country into a quality destination and making travel and tourism the biggest national employer and revenue earner by the year 2020. The establishment of the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) in 2002 was of vital importance and it is responsible for travel and tourism promotion and investment.
Travel accommodation needs additional outlets
A major challenge facing travel and tourism in Lesotho is the lack of accommodation facilities to meet the needs of the growing number of visitors to the country. With the 2010 FIFA World Cup less than a year away, Lesotho has been exploring ways to benefit from it. While the LTDC is doing its best to sell the country on both a local and world level, there is still a dearth of accommodation facilities. In response to the lack of accommodation, the government has launched a large development project to upgrade and construct new travel accommodation outlets around the country. This will help boost arrivals, improve the average length of remain and contribute to economic increase in Lesotho.
Government develops road infrastructure
The majority of visitors to Lesotho are land arrivals. Before its independence in 1966, the only paved road in the country was the Kingsway in the capital city of Maseru. The country’s road infrastructure has been substantially developed over the years with development focusing on connecting district centres. However, in a bid to attract additional tourists for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to be hosted by South Africa, the government has been revamping the road infrastructure between Lesotho and South Africa and as well upgrading several roads leading to major tourist sites. In addition, roads in central Lesotho have as well been improved, as part of the construction needs of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, a multi-billion water transfer and hydropower project implemented by governments of Lesotho and South Africa. Initiatives aimed at upgrading the road infrastructure in Lesotho will as well help boost safety and improve accessibility within the country.
A brighter next for travel and tourism in Lesotho
Travel and tourism in Lesotho is poised for increase thanks to the efforts of the government and the LTDC. The government is committed to promoting environmentally and culturally sustainable tourism development, and projects such as the Lesotho Highlands Water Project and the Afri-Ski Leisure Kingdom resort are expected to boost arrivals and tourism spending over the estimate period. The provision of high quality services, the creation of a favourable investment environment and the development of community-based tourism are expected to help make Lesotho a additional favourable tourist destination.