The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) recently met with the Lesotho Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture to facilitate a benchmarking exercise on grading standards to be undertaken by the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC).
Since 2013, the LTDC’s mandate has been to develop Lesotho’s tourism products through quality star grading. Over time, changes have been made to the grading assessment procedures and grading definitions for each accommodation category. These have led to some misunderstandings, due to the absence of a manual to provide guidance to key stakeholders.
South Africa and Lesotho signed an agreement of co-operation for tourism in May 2012, providing for exchange of information between the two countries.
The TGCSA, the only officially recognised quality assurance body for tourism products in South Africa, is engaging LTDC to find ways to assist Lesotho to improve these processes as well as service delivery in the Lesotho hospitality industry. As such, TGCSA gave an initial presentation to a delegation consisting of the Director of Tourism, two grading awards committee members and a quality assurance officer.
“Through the assistance of TGCSA, we not only benefit as a tourism body, but as a country as a whole. With South Africa’s robust, relevant and consistent grading system as a benchmark, we can benefit the local tourism authority by improving service delivery, boost local travel, increase morale, and drive more tourism to our country,” added Masalang Khasake, Quality Assurance Officer for the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation.
Darryl Erasmus, Chief Quality Assurance Officer at TGCSA, said collaborative tourism efforts between African countries could only assist with standardising and improving the continent’s quality positioning and market share when it comes to global tourist numbers.
“TGCSA is planning to travel to Lesotho in a few weeks to scan the environment and provide grading system guidelines and share the new grading standards. By advancing other African countries from a tourism point of view, the entire continent wins,” said Erasmus.
“We have recently assisted countries such as Zambia, the Seychelles and now Lesotho, which demonstrates that we have ratings that are credible and consistent.”