Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is set to undertake a nationwide grading and classification exercise of hotel and accommodation facilities in Uganda. 

In a public notice issued by UTB on their Facebook page, Uganda, as a member of the East African Community (EAC), subscribes to the East African grading and classification criteria, a system denoted by stars ranging from one to five. 

According to the public notice, the grading and classification exercise will be crowned by the awarding of star ratings to facilities found compliant with EAC minimum standards. This notice is therefore a call to all accommodation and facility owners and managers to register and get licensed by UTB as required and get ready for participation.

In preparation for the upcoming grading and classification exercise, the UTB Quality Assurance team is sensitizing the hotel owners and managers on the general criteria (for grading and classification) and the EAC standards in the following areas; Fort Portal 19th and 20th April, Kampala 22nd and 23rd April, Mbarara and Gulu on 27th and 28th of April 2021.   

According to the EAC Standards Criteria for Classification of Hotels and other Tourist Facilities, the classification system brings out different aspects of service delivery essential for customer satisfaction. It covers physical and tangible characteristics of accommodation establishments such as location, dimensions of rooms, supplies in bathrooms and frequency of change of linen, as well as non tangle elements, like; style or mode, class, comfort, finish and luxury. 

The criteria also cover social contact in aspects like; staff grooming and communication skills.  

According to Juma Volter Mwapachu, the Secretary General of East African Community, if the region is to enjoy the benefits that tourism can bring, there is a need to go for quality rather than quantity. 

Quality assurance indicators like the star rating system established in the developed criteria for accommodation and catering  facilities is one of the ways of building confidence in potential customers who would like to patronize the region, and have the quality of our tourism product internationally recognized, East Africa Community Partner States can then compete on quality rather than cost.

“This is the only way in which the Community is going to be able to develop and maintain competitive tourism accommodation and catering facilities.” Notes Juma; in the EAC statement about “Standards of Classification Lodges.”

Juma points out that in the EAC Standards Criteria; the Tourism Industry in East Africa has a tool that will facilitate the offering of products and services that will consistently meet the expectations of the tourists patronizing this great region.

The Criteria covers various aspects of an establishment that contribute to the offering of various products and services whose sum total generates the grading and rating of the quality.

Quality is a journey without an end and therefore service providers in the accommodation and catering sector are urged to constantly utilize the EAC Standards Criteria as their guide to encourage and maintain quality standards in product and services being delivered to tourists in East Africa.

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