By Seleoe Nonyane
The Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation(LTDC) held a conference that celebrated women who are in the tourism industry business this week.
At the conference, the chief executive officer (CEO) of LTDC Retṧelisitsoe Nko said that he was delighted to see women dominating and growing the tourism industry in Lesotho, remarking that 58 per cent of women are in the tourism industry.
Nko also said LTDC is working towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 which is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030.
The theme for the conference was to adopt an SMME with the intention of have medium to large sector players adopting or taking on micro and small entrepreneurs through sub-contracting, collaborations, out-sourcing, mentoring, financing and many more as an aid to support one another for full sector development growth.
The minister for tourism, environment and culture Ntlhoi Motsamai told the conference that the tourism industry was unstable for a very long time as it was mostly in the hands of men and foreigners.
She said however, the industry has since been shaken by the involvement of women adding that it is essential that women in the tourism business are celebrated.
“We want to celebrate women who are thriving in the tourism business despite the challenges, especially the financial barriers. With this initiative, we want to open the eyes of other women to venture into the tourism industry.
“You are invited to create relationships with small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME’s) in order to help them thrive,” she said while urging women to form collaborations due to its importance in building the business.
According to her the tourism levy is soon to be improved.
She concluded by urging women to keep up the good work strive towards building a legacy and enhance their businesses.
The principal secretary for the ministry of gender, youth, sports and recreation ‘Mamoeketsi Ntho said that findings show that tourism can change the nation’s lives through collaborations with other sectors as it is one of the contributing sectors to the country’s economy.
She highlighted that the industry is faced with a lot of challenges which include abuse and that perpetrators use the sector to violate women and girls.
“Female travelers encounter abuse in a form of rape and unwanted sexual advances. Others experience sexual exploitation and trafficking,” she said.
She said it is the job of business owners to protect female travelers and female employees from these abusive behaviours by developing safety tips at their accommodations.
“There must be adverts or messages that show and emphasize that your accommodation has zero tolerance to abuse.
The founder of Mahlakapese Guest House Matṧeliso Mokuoane said that the tourism business is a network and that more established businesses need small businesses in order for both businesses to thrive.