Can small, medium and micro enterprises contribute to tourism development through economic activities in Butha-Buthe, Lesotho?
Tourism is a fast growing industry and has the potential for poverty alleviation for rural persons. Butha-Buthe is located in a rural area of Lesotho with magnificent mountain scenery, attractions to be promoted, and adventure activities to be experienced. However, tourism in Butha-Buthe is under-developed, and it is very important to identify tourism‘s potential in this area, and explore how small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) could contribute to the development of the industry. The study examines the economic role of small, medium and micro enterprises towards the development of tourism in Butha-Buthe. Challenges faced by the SMMEs include lack of resources, poor infrastructure and roads, transportation, and a lack of net-work communications. Other challenges would be poor business skills in regard to employment and management, which leads to business failures. Questionnaires were distributed to local entrepreneurs in Butha-Buthe, conveniently chosen community members, local government officials, and other stakeholders in the district. A comprehensive literature review was also undertaken in order to establish the SMME situation in selected African and other developing countries. The questionnaires were analysed which allowed for conclusions and recommendations based on the findings. These findings revealed that there is a huge potential for tourism development in Butha-Buthe through the SMME sector, but that there are still challenges faced by the sector in this district, despite the economic contributions they make. However, through the anticipated support of the government (with good policies and policy implementation) and private sectors, these challenges could be dealt with.
Keywords:Butha-Buthe, infrastructure deficiencies, SMMEs, tourism, tourism development.