LTDC bat­tles to sell grad­ing ini­tia­tive

Lesotho Times - - News - Retha­bile Pitso

THE Le­sotho Tourism Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (LTDC) has ex­pressed frus­tra­tion at the re­sis­tance to its star-grad­ing ini­tia­tive by some of the in­tended ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

The cor­po­ra­tion is on a drive to en­sure ev­ery ho­tel and lodge in Le­sotho is graded to give po­ten­tial clients, es­pe­cially tourists, an idea of what ser­vice to ex­pect should they book into that fa­cil­ity and also to boost the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor.

The LTDC of­fi­cially launched the star-grad­ing ini­tia­tive on 30 June 2013, and be­came the first coun­try to adopt the Southern Africa Har­monised Accommodation Grad­ing Pro­gramme de­vel­oped by the Re­gional Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Southern Africa.

The pro­gramme has been hailed as one of the most com­pre­hen­sive and pro­gres­sive in the re­gion and seeks to in­te­grate grad­ing stan­dards which re­flect both the over­all qual­ity of the lodg­ing fa­cil­ity as well as its en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly prac­tices and abil­ity to re­ceive guests.

The pro­gramme was funded by the Pri­vate Sec­tor Com­pet­i­tive- ness and Eco­nomic Di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion Project (PSC), and in ad­di­tion to im­prov­ing in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices in the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor, also seeks to en­sure a whole­some tourism pack­age of in­ter­na­tional stan­dard.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to LTDC In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tions Man­ager, Mamello Moro­jele, some of the busi­nesses had not em­braced the ini­tia­tive, prompt­ing the cor­po­ra­tion to set-up group meet­ings with the en­trepreneurs over the next few weeks.

Ms Moro­jele was speak­ing at a work­shop the cor­po­ra­tion or­gan­ised for the pro­pri­etors at the Le­sotho Sun on Tues­day this week in an effort to con­vince them of the benefits and im­por­tance of em­brac­ing the star-grad­ing project.

“The LTDC hopes to en­sure ev­ery es­tab­lish­ment is graded in or­der to meet the ex­pec­ta­tions of po­ten­tial trav­ellers,” Ms Moro­jele said.

“We are hold­ing this work­shop to­day and many oth­ers will fol­low in our effort to reach and con­vince es­tab­lish­ment-own­ers who have been re­sist­ing our ef­forts to have their fa­cil­i­ties graded.

“A lot of peo­ple be­lieve we are rigid in what is re­quired of these es­tab­lish­ments, yet the truth is when we grade rus­tic es­tab­lish­ments for ex­am­ple, we ap­ply ex- emp­tions which can qual­ify that par­tic­u­lar fa­cil­ity for a star re­gard­less of its unique­ness.”

She fur­ther said the cor­po­ra­tion, through the Min­istry of Tourism, En­vi­ron­ment and Cul­ture, was in the process of re­view­ing li­cenc­ing leg­is­la­tion to en­sure it is in har­mony with the star-grad­ing sys­tem.

“Some of the as­pects which de­ter­mine the clas­si­fi­ca­tion of ei­ther a ho­tel, Bed&break­fast (B&B) or mo­tel may change due to im­prove­ments made to the busi­ness. Such changes might in­clude a B&B owner adding more rooms, for in­stance. And once such an ad­just­ment takes place, that busi­ness no longer qual­i­fies to be a B&B, and its li­cence must be changed ac­cord­ingly,” she said.

“We would want to merge li­cens­ing and grad­ing sys­tems so that each busi­ness is as­sessed by what is on the ground and not its his­tory.”

Ms Moro­jele fur­ther ex­plained as part of ef­forts to as­sist the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor, the cor­po­ra­tion would soon es­tab­lish an In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel School where staff from in­ter­ested com­pa­nies would be trained in rel­e­vant fields.

ple who can work for them­selves and earn a liv­ing, hence the im­por­tance of this ini­tia­tive,” he added.

Mr Pakela fur­ther said staff from his min­istry would con­tin­u­ally mon­i­tor the projects and pro­vide sup­port to en­sure their sur­vival.

“The plan is that af­ter two years, and if the projects are a suc­cess, these 15 fam­i­lies are re­placed by oth­ers on the wait­ing list.

“The projects are go­ing to be con­tin­u­ing since our aim is to have in­de­pen­dent com­mu­ni­ties which do not need grants or as­sis­tance from any­one for sur­vival,” Mr Pakela said.

MALIBA Lodge in Leribe. The LTDC is on a drive to en­sure ev­ery ho­tel and lodge in Le­sotho is graded to give po­ten­tial clients an idea of what ser­vice to ex­pect.

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