The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) the lead marketing agency of the Uganda Safari tour products along with ensuring their standards has embarked on another move to classify and grade hotels along with the related accommodation facilities.
The exercise conducted by the Quality Assurance Department under the Uganda Tourism Board commenced operation on 21st March with the aim of verifying the hotels on whether they meet the minimum requirements to serve the guests including those on safari in Uganda.
The classification will follow the minimum requirements and as a result, no hotel would receive any classification without an independent assessment according to the Quality Assurance coordinator Mr. James Ssebagala.
This rating exercise is the second of its kind following the 2014 hotel rating and classification which was conducted by the same body under the Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities. According the Uganda Tourism Board Chief Executive Director Mr. Stephen Asiimwe, the ongoing exercise is an inventory taking process that would definitely generate a guiding list in assessing and standardizing Uganda’s accommodation facilities. Asiimwe further notes that hotel classification arrangement follows similar standards set by the members of the East African Community as it is stipulated in the tourism sector agenda of the integration scheme. This aims at enhancing uniformity and creating ease in selling of East Africa as a single tourist destination.
The ongoing grading covers both intangible and physical service that is expected for a hotel or any other accommodation facility in the respective category and the classification level. The region of East Africa follows the star rating criteria with one (1) star standing for the lowest while the highest is marked by five (5) stars. However, the Restaurants and Motels differ with three (3) to five (5) and one (1) to three (3) respectively. Generally the one star facility features basic facilities with the minimum to ensure guest comfort including budget travelers on Uganda tours while the five star hotel would feature complete luxury and lush amenities considered at International level.
The East African criteria for the purposes of categorization groups hotels under the following forms; Town Hotels which are near or within town centers, Vacation hotels positioned near a holiday resort, Motels positioned along highways, Villas Cottages and Service Apartments which are commercial but located in holiday resort areas suitable for self catering clientele and Lodges and Tented Camps positioned near or within wilderness areas with plenty of fauna and flora.