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Tourism Levy implemented

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

THE Tourism Levy has finally been implemented, the Lesotho Development Corporation (LTDC) has said.

The levy was initially supposed to have been operationalised on 1 July 2022 but faced serious resistance from tourism players like tour operators, guest house owners and travel agents among others.

The players complained that they were not consulted by the government when it came up with the levy.

However, a committee was set up to deliberate on the matter. The committee has now resolved that guest houses, tour operators and event organisers should channel 1, 5 percent of each booking towards the levy. Travel agents are supposed to contribute M50 to the levy for each booking.

The LTDC this week said the levy became effective on 1 October 2022.

LTDC public relations manager, ‘Manchafalo Motsoeneng, said the levy will be collected by the LTDC on behalf of the government. It will be used to promote and market Lesotho as a tourism destination.

Thetso Thamae, the LTDC’s head of finance and operations, said they would ensure that the levy was used effectively.

“Half of the funds will be used to improve tourism through the distribution of signage, pamphlets and flyers locally and internationally,” Mr Thamae said.

“Thirty percent will be used for administration by the LTDC when training tour guides and travelling.”

Another 10 percent will be given to the Tourism, Environment and Culture ministry to help it implement regulations that govern the levy effectively.

‘Masalang Khasake, a member of the tourism committee, said players should register with the LTDC and receive a certificate as proof of their registration.

LTDC CEO, Retšilitsoe Nko, said he is glad that the levy was finally implemented after 15 years of trying.

“My colleagues worked hard to ensure that the levy is implemented. Lesotho wants to improve investment in tourism to help players get top tier exposure and training,” Dr Nko said.

He added that events played an important role in attracting tourists therefore, organisers must comply and pay the levy.

Mabohlokoa Pekane, founder of More Tours and Travel, said the levy was long overdue as other countries had already implemented it.

“The levy will be good if it benefits the country and my counterparts in tourism. The only concern is I work with guesthouses, attraction places and I must pay the levy while they are also expected to do the same,” Ms Pekane said.

The levy is mandatory, and players are expected to submit what they would have collected to the LTDC on 10 November 2022.

Operators who contravene the regulation would have committed an offence and will be liable to conviction, a fine not exceeding M10 000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months, the LTDC said yesterday.