Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) will classify all tourism facilities in the country in order to enable them improve on standards of the sector and ability to attract more visitors to the country
Bradford Ochieng, the UTB Deputy Chief Executive Officer, during a training and sensitisation workshop on registration, inspection and licensing of accommodation with Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA), encouraged owners of tourism facilities to improve on their standards.
The said facilities include hotels, lodges, guest house among others.
“If a hotel established is given a star rating, it eases its marketing and guests will be given the right information about the establishment thereby reducing disappointments,” he said.
Facilities can be graded from one-star to five-star based on a number of factors like service levels, location, staff among others.
Ochieng stated that classifying all tourist facilities would enable Uganda not only enforce its standard in the hospitality industry, but also improves the country’s competitiveness with the neighboring countries and ability to attract visitors.
“We have to remember that we are competing for the same travelers with our neighbors. Therefore, we have to critically look at our competitiveness. In terms of pricing, hygiene, standards, potential travelers look at these and many other things before zeroing in on their preferred destination,” he said.
Ochieng noted that as UTB, they are set to ensure that standards are enforced in the industry and this will be done through registering and licensing all facilities that are engaged in the business.
Suzan Muhwezi, the Chairperson of UHOA added that the registration and licensing of tourism facilities will improve the standards and help Uganda compete favorably with other hotel in the East African Region and also internationally.
“As you might know, we are also positioning ourselves as the Meeting, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) destination of choice in East and Central Africa. We have therefore partnered with UTB to embark on a countrywide sensitization campaign so as to empower our members meet the expected standards by both the domestic and international market,” said Muhwezi
She stated that all tourism operators, such as hotels, guides, airlines, tour operators will be required to have a license from UTB to operate, and this will also ensure uniformity across the sector.
Richard Kawere, CEO of the Uganda Tourism Association believes that rather than debating on the minimum standards required to attain a license, they should focus mainly on upgrading the sector.
“We should remember that, while we are still debating on the minimum standard, the world is not waiting for us. This is a very competitive industry and standards are one of the benchmarks of measurements for people to come and visits us. Whereas we are in the same region, we are competing with neighbors for travelers, they already had these discussions and committed to the standard” he said.