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LTDC celebrates women in tourism

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

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Tokelo Khausela

WOMEN are beginning to take leading roles in the tourism sector as opposed to the past, giving hope that the industry is poised for stability and growth.

This was said by Tourism, Environment and Culture minister, Nthloi Motsamai during the Women in Tourism Conference at the ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre this week.

The conference was meant to empower women in the tourism sector to assist each other to stimulate the growth of the tourism sector.

Speaking at the event, Ms Motsamai said in the past, tourism was shaky because it was dominated by men.

“It is encouraging and pleasing to see many stakeholders in the tourism industry are women and we have seen a major improvement in the sector since women have taken the reigns,” Ms Motsamai said.

“The tourism sector won’t succeed if it is dominated by foreign players and men. As women, you bring change in many people’s lives through job creation and contributing to the economy of the country.”

She added participants to engage in smart partnership to stimulate growth.

“Tourism grows through smart partnerships. I plead with all of you to be vigilant and build relations because in the end, they will be beneficial. Let’s work hard to build a legacy for future tourism counterparts and above all, we ought to love our country and take it to greater dimensions.”

Gender, Youth, Sport and Recreation principal secretary, ‘Mamoeketsi Ntho, said tourism opens up opportunities to multiple value chains.

“Research has shown that tourism opens opportunities to change the livelihoods of people because the industry works with many sectors. For instance, agriculture provides nutritious vegetables to restaurants cementing the value chain,” Ms Ntho said.

She urged guesthouse operators to create a safe space for women as they are prone to unwanted sexual advances from men.

“We ought to ensure that female travellers are safe and want to visit the country again. If they are humiliated or if they feel uncomfortable, they won’t come back,” Ms Ntho said.

She also encouraged guesthouse operators to protect sex workers who entertain guests but often end up being exploited.

One of the ways is ensuring that there are both male and female condoms readily available.

Such a practice will also help reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancies and HIV and AIDS infections.