MASERU — The Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) says the grading process for tourism facilities in the country is now at an advanced stage.
LTDC public relations officer Tšiu Shale said Lesotho’s grading standards have already been formulated and the actual grading process will start early next year.
“We had a series of workshops with those involved in the tourism industry together with our consultant, Grant Thornton, with the purpose of having a good grading system,” said Shale.
“It is worth noting that we are not grading specifically for the World Cup, but to upgrade the tourism industry by making it attractive to tourists.”
He said the corporation had looked at grading systems and standards in other southern African countries like Zambia and South Africa.
Grant Thornton has helped set up grading standards in most southern Africa.
“The grading standards for Lesotho have to be on par with international standards,” Shale said.
“We want Lesotho to have good grading standards for its facilities.”
He said a few accommodation establishments were graded earlier this year but they did not meet some of the requirements of the new grading standards.
“So the owners were advised to make the necessary changes and add some additional fittings,” Shale said.
“The establishments did not meet the requirements because of things that might seem minor but are of great significance when it comes to grading.
“These include things such as fittings and generally maintenance of good hygiene standards at all times.”
“Most establishments are almost ready for the market and are ready to be graded,” he added.
“(However) there are those that are so poorly managed that there is need for huge changes in order to bring them to the right standards.”
According to Shale, the LTDC has trained 15 assessors who will visit accommodation establishments conduct pre-grading assessments.
“We have employed a total of 15 assessors who will go to the establishments and conduct pre-grading assessments,” he said.
He said the assessors will give facility owners some guidelines and advice on improvements to be made to meet the grading standards.
The grading of establishments in Lesotho comes at a time the hospitality industry faces the danger of missing out on the opportunity to cash in on the 2010 Fifa World Cup in neighbouring South Africa.
Most establishments in Lesotho are not graded.
Match, the company contracted by Fifa to administer accommodation, has said to get accredited as a facility for the upcoming World Cup a hotel must have at least two stars.