To ensure that all tourist facilities in the country are up to standard, Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), is set to conduct a grading and classification exercise for all tourism facilities in the Country in line with new East African Community (EAC) standards.
According to pmldaily.com, the exercise kicked off with a two-day refresher course for the 12 EAC-certified hotel assessors at Protea Hotel, Entebbe. The refresher course is to improve their skills ahead of the sensitive exercise that starts in May 2021. Between now and then, UTB will embark on a massive stakeholder sensitization exercise.
Addressing the assessors and media at Protea Hotel, Mrs. Susan Muhwezi, the UTB Board Vice-Chair and Chairperson of Uganda Hotels Owners Association (UHOA), commended UTB for working with the private sector members, such as UHOA in the grading and classification exercise, that she said, was very vital to the recovery of Uganda’s tourism sector.
“Most tourists especially foreigners value the stars of the hotel they are booking and they always look forward to experiencing the standards of the indicated star of a particular hotel,” she said, urging the assessors to be diligent in their work and to follow the set procedures and standards.
The East African Community, standards criteria for the classification of hotels, restaurants and other tourist facilities were gazetted in 2009 to encourage and maintain quality standards in products and services being delivered to tourists in East Africa.The standards were institutionalized under the Tourism Regulations 2008.
The standards include:
Classification Criteria for Lodges
Classification criteria for Motels
Classification Criteria for Restaurants
Classification Criteria for Guesthouses
Classification Criteria for Tented Camps
Classification Criteria for Town hotels
Classification Criteria for Vacation Hotels
Classification Criteria for Villas, Cottages and serviced apartments
According to Ms. Lilly Ajarova, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) Chief Executive Officer, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown measures, the next round of assessment which was scheduled to commence from the end of FY 2019/20 was postponed to FY2020/21.
“The star-rating we give during the grading and classification has a life span of 2 years meaning that all facilities that were graded can no longer identify themselves with the star rating they were awarded with because it expired, and this means that currently, Uganda does not have any graded facilities. Due to Covid-19, a number of facilities’ standards have gone down, so this exercise is important for safeguarding the standards in the sector and the competitiveness of Destination Uganda,” she said.
“UTB’S decision to conduct classification envisions transforming the tourism sector into “one of the top long-haul tourist destinations that offer a high-value, diverse and distinct visitor experience,” she added.