Trainee star-graders leave for SA
ThiRTy lucky Basotho undergoing training with the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) to become star-grading assessors today leave for South Africa where they would complete the two-week course.
LTDC Quality Assurance Officer Makatleho Noosi said after the course, the graduates — who come from hospitality and tourism backgrounds — are expected to assist the corporation fulfil its vision of upgrading at least 40 accommodation establishments a year.
According to Ms Noosi, the LTDC had partnered Johannesburg-based international Training School (iTS) in the training and awarding of internationally recognised certificates to the graduates, hence the trainees’ departure for South Africa today.
iTS is a subsidiary of the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute, and the LTDC hopes the organisation’s involvement in the training is going to result in world-class assessors, whose top 10 would be contracted by the corporation on an ad hoc basis.
“in our continued efforts to encourage accommodation-operators into applying for upgrading, we have initiated this training for the group not only to become assessors but be capacitated to improve the facility they are to evaluate, with professionally formulated recommendations.
“The training will leave them with the capacity to objectively identify and fill-up gaps the owner would have overlooked. They would also be made aware of the versatility and dynamic nature of the sector that keeps changing to suit the different personalities of visitors,” she said.
Ms Noosi further said in the coming weeks, LTDC would train establishmentoperators in areas such as customercare, front-desk and restaurant service, as well as care for customers with special needs.
“We need to level the playing field so that both the assessor and operator help with meeting demands for tourists. The aim is to bring Lesotho’s accommodation establishments at par with their international counterparts in order to engage tourists from across the globe.
“We would want visitors not to spot any difference when they are here because our services will meet the demands of a certain star-grading. if an establishment is awarded three stars, then it must be standard with any international threestar facility.
“However, the grading system cannot be applied without any exceptions such as when a rustic establishment has to be graded.
“There can be exceptions of where such an establishment is a hut with a thatched roof, unlike an establishment in Hawaii, for instance. It does not mean that type cannot be graded accordingly without embracing the cultural set-up it comes with.
“The standard aspects to take into consideration would be to assess the quality of service, trimmings and furnishings and clean sheets, to name but a few,” she said.
Ms Noosi further said the corporation was planning to hold the trainings annuallly in a bid to assist more operators elevate their businesses and also assured participants who may not make it through the examination not to despair as the hospitality industry required their skills.
Speaking in Maseru on the sidelines of the training session, iTS National Training Manager, Sue Daya expressed confidence the trainees would excel in the field. She further pledged ITS’ support for Lesotho’s hospitality industry.
“So far, the participants have partly completed a Training Development module which will establish them in the National Qualification Association.
“They would be awarded qualifications certified by the American Hotel and Lodge Educational Institute (AHLEI) which are internationally recognised.
“i have seen the passion and enthusiasm from these pupils and they are guaranteed to go as far as overseas with this business,” she said.