Elita Chikwati — Zimbabwe's tourism sector has the potential to boost the SADC region's economic growth and there is need to boost ties in the area, with countries like Lesotho to enhance the prospects, visiting King Letsie III of Lesotho said yesterday. As such, King Letsie III, pledged his country's support to ensure Zimbabwe's tourism sector contributes positively towards the growth of the region's economy.
King Letsie III was speaking in Victoria Falls where he had gone for a tour of one of the seven natural wonders of the world. He also had a lunch cruise on the mighty Zambezi River and later visited the Crocodile Farm.
King Letsie III was accompanied by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, Minister of State for Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Cde Cain Mathema and Victoria Falls mayor, Councillor Sifiso Mpofu, among other officials.
King Letsie III said boosting the tourism sector was one of the issues they had discussed with VP Mphoko during the lunch cruise. "We have been discussing how the two countries can boost tourism," he said. "We discussed it over lunch and I do hope that when I get home I will discuss it further with the relevant authorities and see what we can do.
"I hope that this will come into fruition in the near future. I do hope you continue to contribute through tourism to the economy of this region and Zimbabwe as a whole. I am looking forward to coming back again. You can't get enough of it (Victoria Falls).
"The Victoria Falls is very beautiful. It is very unique and most beautiful wonder of nature, which Zimbabwean people are privileged to have in their country."
King Letsie III arrived in the resort town in the afternoon and was welcomed by Cde Mathema and Cllr Mpofu, before proceeding for the lunch cruise on the Zambezi River.
He then left for the Victoria Falls where he viewed the main falls, the rain forest, the David Livingstone Monument and signed a book of visitors. "It has been a pleasure and a privilege for me to view this unique monument and beautiful wonder of nature, the Great Victoria Falls, Mosi-oa-Tunya. The visit will forever remain in my memory," read his message in the book (pictured).
He later visited the Crocodile Farm, where he was taken around by the farm's tour guide Mr Wayne Mahlangu and had the opportunity to hold a live crocodile for the first time in his life.
Mr Mahlangu explained to King Letsie how the sex of the crocodiles is determined, the stage of slaughter for meat and skin and also that the meat was exported to Europe, while it was also on demand on the local market.
King Letsie III witnessed the feeding of the crocodiles, before returning to Harare.
He was welcomed at the Harare International Airport by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, and Zanu-PF secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Kudzai Chipanga, among other officials.
King Letsie III had been in Zimbabwe for the past four days and is expected to leave Harare for his country this morning.
During his stay, he met with President Mugabe at State House where they held high level talks on various issues concerning relations between the two countries.
President Mugabe hosted a State banquet for King Letsie III on Monday. At the banquet, King Letsie thanked President Mugabe for helping stabilised the political situation in his country.
Zimbabwe and Lesotho enjoy cordial relations dating back to the liberation struggle. Lesotho extended crucial assistance to Zimbabwe during the liberation struggle, which saw eminent political figures receiving education in that country.
Zimbabwe and Lesotho are bound together by a common history, similar cultures and strong economic linkages.