Konosoang Mipti

I am a Mosotho girl aged 30 and currently doing my Masters degree in Business Information Systems under the Faculty of Informatics and Design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). I started my National Diploma in Travel and Tourism Management in 2006 to 2008 and passed all my subjects and then continued with the BTech program in Tourism Management which I successfully finished in the year 2009. Other qualifications include: Business Administration (NQF Level 4) which I obtained from the Institute of Business Studies and Secretarial Studies from the Integrated Business College. 

I am currently working as Information Technology Postgraduate Administrator at CPUT. I also worked Kuoni Private Safaris; one of the leading tour operator in South Africa. I would like to work in an environment where my potential will be used fully. I am a quality driven person and willingness to learn is part of my career strengths. I enjoy doing research work; I am always interested to know when and how things happen and why in order to gain more knowledge and understanding. I love challenges and always willing to put extra effort at all times.

Interview with Konosoag:
When and why did you decide to research in the area of information technology for tourism development?
I started working on this research early 2013, I’ve always liked doing a research in Tourism management, and however my work experience and educational background has also contributed a lot. I work in an IT department so I thought it would be interesting if I can integrate both Tourism and IT in my study.

What is your study about?
My study is about: The potential use of Information Communication Technology to enhance agri-tourism in Lesotho. 
Agritourism represents a significant form of strategy that supports rural communities and enhances the sustainable rural development. Over the years, technology has changed the nature of business transactions between the consumers and suppliers of goods and services. Like any other industry, changes driven by technology posed a major challenge in agritourism production and marketing especially to farms that do not have access to and knowledge about technologies in agritourism. This study is about exploring how the different types of ICT available for agritourism can help contribute to local development and help overcome potential barriers that may inhibit the use of these technologies by farmers in rural communities of Lesotho.

How do you think your study can provide a positive impact onto your community?

Agritourism is faced with a number of challenges that impact farmer’s abilities to obtain income from the land. Contribution of agritourism to development depends on the generation and delivery of new technologies and these technologies are described as information intensive.The significance of this research is to provide the farmers with a practical and communicable framework which identifies the different types of ICTs that are available for farmers in rural communities to use with the aim of contributing towards agritourism developments and factors that inhibits the use of these technologies in agritourism projects. It also aims to contribute to the body of knowledge and increase understanding on how these technologies can be used by farmers to enhance agritourism.

Where do you see the tourism development in your country in 20 years if your study would be realised on a large scale?
Tourism development is still in its development stage as compared to the other members of the Southern African Development Community (SADA). However; the government of Lesotho has taken the necessary steps in order to promote levels of ICT accessibility in the tourism industry as well as utilisation in its communities despite its poor ICT infrastructure and high level of poverty. Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology (MCST) is responsible for ICT development, broadcasting, media, postal services and science and technology in the country, with the aim of increasing radio, television as well as mobile coverage, the number of internet users in the country, fixed telephone and promotion of IT.

In 20 years time, tourism will be well-developed; the agritourism industry will have the potential to overturn negative economic impacts by bringing in visitors, creating new jobs and local ventures for rural communities. Some of the potential and benefits associated with tourism development are listed below:
• Generation of secondary income for tourism stakeholders
• Development of new consumer markets and increasing awareness to local tourism products
• Preserving the virtual and maintaining the tourism landscape
• Development will also help in attracting other businesses and small industries
• Making provision for certain infrastructure
• Helping educate consumers and tourists about tourism related activities
• Enhancing the rural identity of communities and emphasizing the importance of tourism in local communities
• Helping create name recognition for their tourism products and services