By Edwin Muhumuza
Uganda Tourism Board 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.
The exercise kicked off with a two-day refresher course for 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, according to the Uganda Tourism Board, the facilitators of the exercise.
The chairperson Uganda Hotel owners Association and UTB Board Vice-Chair, Susan Muhwezi said 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 has also urged the assessors to be diligent in their work and to follow the set procedures and standards.
According to Lilly Ajarova, the CEO of UTB, there are 14 of them and the grading and classification system is that of the East African Community and that is the same that Uganda is following.
“The certified assessors need to be refreshed in their knowledge and skills of doing their assessment .This kick-starts the process of classifying and grading of the hospitality facilities in Uganda.” said Lilly.
Normally, the grading is done after every two years, the last time the activity was carried out was in 2017 and because of the pandemic the 2019/20 exercises was not done.
The exercise is to enable Uganda become more competitive within the region and to have our accommodation facilities certified means that we are keeping to the best practices, we have standards that we are following and this is a marketing tool for us as a destination.
After the training the Board will embark on an exercise to sensitize the public as well and then ensure the hotels are graded. In grading there are stars; 5-star, 4-star, 3 star among other grades.
“This will help travelers to decide on which facility they will stay in according to their set prices including motels, town hotels, lodges, Guesthouses, Restaurants, vacation hotels camping facilities ,villas, cottages and serviced apartments which differ in classification,” said Ajarova.
The head of Quality assurance at Uganda Tourism Board, Samora Machel Ssemakula noted that the classification exercise will be done regionally beginning with the central region, followed by the East, North and Southern parts of the country.
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.
Since the release of the criteria, Uganda has been able to classify 121 accommodation facilities.