By Kefiloe Kajane
The Lesotho Tourism Cooperation (LTDC) this week handed over a cheque for M14 000 to the community of Semonkong towards improving tourism in the area.
This was done to ensure that the community too benefit from tourist attraction sites in their place.
The money is 10 percent of the revenue collected from tourists who pay to visit places of interest like the iconic Maletsunyane Falls. It was given to the Semonkong Tourism Development Group as community representatives.
Speaking at the event, LTDC head of product development and investment promotion Mamello Morojele said the money is meant to improve tourism in Semonkong which is known for its famous tourist attractions.
The LTDC chief executive officer, Sehlabaka Ramafikeng, said tourism is important when communities surrounded by tourist attractions benefit from them.
He said they realised that Semonkong has important attraction sites that attract many tourists every year yet the people did not benefiting in any way. He said together with the ministry of tourism, environment and culture, they decided to instal the facility that has been built at the Maletsunyane Falls.
“After building that facility, we asked ourselves how the community could benefit, that is when we decided to introduce a tollgate system just before you get to the waterfall. This is where anyone visiting the waterfall will have to pay. Then we decided together with community representatives here called Semonkong Tourism Development Group that every year, we will give them a certain portion of that revenue towards improving tourism here,” he said.
The chairperson of the Semonkong Tourism Development Group, Ntai Lekhula, said the community of Semonkong is gratified that now people do not just enter the village to see the waterfall without paying. He said the they are happy but there is still more that needs to be done.