Lesotho, a Tourism Destination: An Analysis of Lesotho's Current Tourism Products and Potential for Growth

Lesotho, a Tourism Destination: An Analysis of Lesotho's Current Tourism Products and Potential for Growth

Lichia Yiu (Centre for Socio-EcoNomic Development (CSEND), Switzerland), Raymond Saner (Centre for Socio-EcoNomic Development (CSEND), Switzerland) and Marcus Raphael Lee (Centre for Socio-EcoNomic Development (CSEND), Switzerland)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8606-9.ch017
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The objective of this chapter is to map and analyze the available tourism assets and products in the Kingdom of Lesotho. The analysis includes assessments on how to improve performance and sustainability of the tourism industry in Lesotho including greater utilization of existing tourism infrastructure and further development of Lesotho's tourism products. This chapter also addresses the strategic issues of tourism development and how Lesotho could increase the number of its tourists. Tourism development has been identified by the government of Lesotho, the International Monetary Fund as well as the United Nations World Tourism Organization as a sector that can reduce poverty as well as absorb low or semi skilled labor. Boosting the tourism sector in Lesotho would work towards alleviating poverty in the Kingdom overall. This chapter applies a case approach in order to illustrate potential investment opportunities and tourism performance improvements in an existing ski resort in Lesotho.
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Introduction: Mapping The Tourism Landscape Of Lesotho

The United Nation’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that tourist arrivals surpassed 1 billion for the first time in 2012. Despite occasional shocks, international tourist arrivals have enjoyed virtually uninterrupted growth – from 277 million in 1980 to 528 million in 1995, and 1.035 billion in 2012. Developing countries are playing an increasingly prominent role in this growing sector. Tourism is one of the top three exports for the majority of developing counties and for at least 22 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) (including Lesotho) (World Trade Organization, 2013).

As of 2012, according to the World Economic Forum, the Tourism industry in Lesotho is worth USD152.3million, almost 7% of the country’s economy (World Economic Forum 2013). The industry is slated to grow 4.4% in value during the time period 2013 – 2022. It currently employs 34,000 Lesotho natives representing 6% of the workforce. With the expected growth of the international tourism industry, Lesotho should take the opportunity to use the tourism sector as a primary driver for their national economy.

Aside from the pure economic benefit, tourism has many other social benefits that are intangible according to UNWTO’s Secretary-General Taleb Rifai (2013), including:

  • 1.


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      Especially for young people smooth and soft entry into the labour market.

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      People don’t have to move. Jobs are where they are/grew up.

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      For every 1 Tourism job, 1.4 extra jobs are created in parallel sectors – multiplier effect.A hotel employing 100 persons creates 250 indirect jobs (International Labour Organization, 2010).

  • 2.

    Infrastructure Development

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      Roads and other forms of transit are usually built or improved upon with the onset of tourism operations. While this facilitates the tourists who visit, it also directly benefits the local community who now have access to these public goods. Additionally, more often than not, tourism in LDCs tends to be in rural areas – meaning rural areas would benefit from infrastructure development not otherwise extended to them.

Tourism development has been identified by the Lesotho government, International Monetary Fund as well as the United Nations World Tourism Organization as a sector that will reduce poverty as well as absorb many low or semi skilled labor (Rifai, 2013). Boosting the tourism sector in the Kingdom will alleviate poverty in the Kingdom overall. If developed well, tourism could effectively lead an LDC country like Lesotho out of poverty like it did for Cape Verde, a small chain of islands off the west coast of Africa who graduated from LDC status in 2007.

Mobility and accommodations are two fundamental factors in determining the volume, costs and eligibility of tourism. As a result, these basic infrastructures affect the attractiveness of tourist operations and investment from abroad. A detail analysis of the macro picture including the border entry, existing hospitality establishment and other facilities is presented here.


Points And Means Of Tourist Entry Into Lesotho

Lesotho is a landlocked country completely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. One of the biggest challenges facing many international tourists planning a trip to Lesotho is how to get to the Kingdom. The follow section will review the entry points tourists can make use in order to gain entry into the Kingdom and related transport service provision.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Value Chain: Process or activities by which a company adds value to an article, including production, marketing, and the provision of after-sales services.

Competitiveness: Ability and performance of a firm, sub-sector or country to sell and supply goods and services in a given market, in relation to the ability and performance of other firms, sub-sectors or countries in the same market.

Hotel Management: Professional management techniques used in the hospitality sector, including hotel administration, accounts, marketing, housekeeping, front office or front of house, food and beverage management, catering and maintenance.

Supply Chain: Sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of a commodity.

Tourism Development: Planning and implementation of strategies with the objective to develop the tourism sector.

Tourism Products: Anything that can be offered for attraction, acquisition or consumption. It includes physical objects, services, personalities, places, organizations and ideas.

Infrastructure: Basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, and power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.

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