IESC, in coordination with the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporate (LTDC), is working to develop a standardized, national accommodation star grading program to help boost Lesotho's developing tourism industry. As part of this program, recently a series of six workshops held throughout Lesotho from March 4 to 15, 2013, and attracted more than 95 percent of the country's tourism accommodation owners and operators.
Attendees learned about Lesotho's new accommodation star grading program and were able to voice their opinions of the new system as they were instructed on the distinction between a 1, 2, 3, 4, and and 5-star facility. LTDC Project Coordinator Mr. Tsepant Hatase remarked that “the participants were very serious when it came time to evaluate the different quality between the 1 to 5 stars within the various standards. Furthermore, they understood what it takes to be a good, for instance 3-star, property. This was very encouraging for us.”
Ms. Mamello Maholo of the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture opened each of the workshops with a description of the benefits of the new grading system, stating that “to be competitive in the current southern Africa and international marketplace, both travelers as well as the tour operators need to know the quality of the facility before they book.”
Ms. Maholo's presentation was followed by a detailed description of the new grading system by IESC Team Leader Mr. James MacGregor. Mr. MacGregor presented a number of examples of 1 to 5 star graded facilities, as well as defined the grading process, procedures and the systems management structure that will be developed under the system's new grading council. “We will also develop a set of grading standards that are more comprehensive than most international programs. For instance, they will include standards that support environmental protection, such as the energy conservation and waste management as well as those standards that enable guests with disabilities to use the facilities,” said Mr. MacGregor.