LTDC engages police on tourism
THE Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) says the country is already reaping the rewards of a four-month programme it launched last year with the aim of sensitising police on dealing with tourists who visit the country.
LTDC launched the programme in September 2016 to sensitise the police force on the proper approach, handling and rendering assistance to tourists which is vital to ensuring the country retains its share of the globally lucrative sector.
Last week’s seminar in Thaba Tseka district was the last of several seminars which kicked off last year in the Leribe district, followed by Mafeteng and Qacha’s Nek.
LTDC’S Public Relations Manager Manchafalo Motšoeneng this week told the Weekender that they were already reaping the rewards of the initiative.
“The responses of the police heads in the different regions were very positive and they are showing that they were refreshed by the information we shared with them,” Motšoeneng said.
“Our main objective was to eliminate the harassment of tourists, especially being asked for bribes during some of the police operations and since we started with the workshops we had less cases of that nature and disciplinary actions were taken against police officers who were caught doing so.
“Another challenge we faced was of the signage which were often removed from the road side for personal use by rural community members such as building shacks but the police have helped stop the practice by taking action against perpetrators.”
Ms Motšoeneng said the police also opened up on some of the challenges they encountered including insufficient knowledge about tourism and delays in investigating cases of alleged harassment of tourists.
“The police indicated that some cases take time to investigate and by the time they went to court the affected tourist would have left the country resulting in the dismissal of the case.
“Nonetheless, we tried to find ways to make our work easier and we agreed that it would be necessary for the police to have kiosks at different tourist attractions to ensure prompt response to any problems that arise.
“We believe that will be effected in the next financial year but at the moment we have established a mobile application called Best Of which provides all the information that may be needed by a tourist as it also uses the Google Maps,” she said.
Ms Motšoeneng also said that they would conduct regular liaisons with the police to strengthen their working relations.
SOME of the police officers who took part in the workshop.