MASERU — Lesotho will have a grading system for hotels and lodges in time for the football World Cup next June, the head of investment promotion at the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) has said.
Ramatlali Nkhahle told the Sunday Express in an interview on Friday that the star grading system will be in line with international standards.
“We are in the process of implementing the accommodation grading system of Lesotho which will meet international requirements and standards,” Nkhahle said.
Nkhahle said by the time the World Cup kicks off in June in neighbouring South Africa most accommodation establishments will be fully graded.
“We are currently training grading assessors who will be responsible for assessing and giving advice to those who run accommodation establishments on how to improve their businesses,” he said.
Earlier this year the business sector expressed concern over lack of a grading system for hotels and lodges operating in Lesotho.
There was a concern that the lack of a grading system could scuttle attempts to lure tourists coming for the World Cup tournament.
The LTDC said it expected to host hordes of tourists during the month-long football tournament who could exploit Lesotho’s proximity to Bloemfontein which will host some of the matches.
An international consultancy company, Grant Thornton, has since been hired to help implement the grading system for hotels and lodges operating in Lesotho.
Lisa Gordon-Davis, a consultant with Grant Thornton, said although the grading system was voluntary it was important for local accommodation establishments to comply with the requirement.
“Most accommodation establishments in the world are accredited and this is an advantage since it shows the quality of materials and service provided in such an establishment,” Gordon-Davis said.
She said it was important for people running accommodation establishments to have some form of training to make them aware of the minimum requirements that they must meet.
She however said the problem where people invest and build accommodation establishments without proper knowledge of the industry was not unique to Lesotho.
“It is normally wise for people to get proper training and this will make them know what is required from the design of the buildings, the furniture and fittings that is required,” Gordon-Davis said.
Gordon-Davis said most of the 12 accommodation establishments that they had assessed across the country did not perform very well.
“Most did not perform well as most did not have small things (such as bedside lamps, suitcase racks) which can be rectified easily,” she said.
Gordon-Davis said it is minor things such as these “that count in the hospitality industry”.
It is important for accommodation establishments to meet the minimum requirements for the grading process.
She said most accommodation establishments were not aware of the international standards they needed to meet.