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Lodges fail to make grade

Mpeshe Selebalo


MASERU — Eight out of 18 accommodation establishments evaluated last month failed to meet the expected minimum requirements, the Sunday Express has learnt.

The evaluation was carried out by a South African firm, Batsoi Hospitality Enterprise, and ran from February 8 to 28.

It covered five districts — Berea, Botha-Bothe, Leribe, Maseru and Mafeteng.

According to one of the assessors, `Mamokhothu Santho, all the five accommodation establishments assessed in Mafeteng and Botha-Bothe could not make the grade.

Two of the three accommodation providers evaluated in Leribe also failed the test.

Only one of the nine places assessed in Maseru failed to make it while the single establishment assessed in Morija qualified.

Santho refused to divulge the names of the establishments that failed to make the grade.

“In Leribe, only one establishment was found to be gradable, while in Botha-Bothe none was found suitable for grading,” she said.

“The one we visited in Morija is gradable while only one of the three assessed in Leribe is currently gradable.

“In Mafeteng, none of the three establishments visited is gradable.

“Taking into account this was the first time such an exercise was being undertaken in Lesotho and that some of the organisations have not received proper guidance on how to run their establishments, the results were satisfactory.

“What emerged during the assessment was some of the owners do seem to have received some training about the hospitality business while some did not go through any form of training at all.

“So they do not know what they have to do.”

Santho said in some instances some establishments could not be inspected as they were undergoing refurbishments.

“One of the reasons why some were not gradable was because construction work was still being carried out on such establishments,” she said.

“In such cases, assessment could not be carried out.”

Santho said most establishments were found wanting in the area of customer care and housekeeping.

“Most of the workers do not have the required skills necessary to serve guests in the appropriate manner,” she said.

“There is urgent need to improve standards in customer care and housekeeping.”

She would not say when the grading project is expected to start because she first needed clearance from the relevant authorities.

Meanwhile, the executive director of the Lesotho Council for Tourism, `Matiisetso Libetso, said she could not give a timeframe of when the final grading process will begin.

“The Lesotho grading system has not yet been implemented, although it has already been formulated,” said Libetso.

“So the challenge is for it to be made official.

“The accommodation providers have to be graded using the resident country’s system.

“There is no timeframe when this grading will begin.”

But Lesotho is racing against time as the deadline for establishments wishing to be considered during the football World Cup tournament in South Africa was set for next month.

Local accommodation providers need to attain a minimum of two stars to qualify for a contract with Match Event Services which holds exclusive accommodation rights to the World Cup tournament which begins on June 11.

The participating establishments, which ranged from lodges, guest houses and hotels, were chosen for assessment because of their proximity to Bloemfontein, one of the host cities for the football tournament.

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