The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism will next month conduct a grading and re-grading exercise for hotels and restaurants countrywide, vowing to conduct the exercise diligently.
Announcing the move in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Major General Gaudence Milanzi, said that the exercise would not entertain favouritism or corruption as it would stick to the criteria set by the East African Community (EAC).
He was, however, quick to downplay possibility of owners of the accommodation facilities to ask for favours by giving their properties higher grades than what they deserve.
“This is due to the fact that for the owner to have the hotel that has been given higher grade doesn’t help because the customers would easily notice and thus tarnish image of their businesses,” noted Major General Milanzi.
The ministry announced that it will next month embark on the exercise, starting with Dar es Salaam, before moving to other regions. From January 6, the ministry gave a 30-day notice for the owners and operators of the accommodation facilities in the city to make the necessary preparations for a smooth and efficient run of the exercise.
The ministry’s Director of Tourism, Mr Zahoro Kimwaga, said in an interview that the exercise will involve 15 experts, some of them from the private sector.
“This is to make it more participatory. These people went through special training to do the job,” Mr Kimwaga noted. He argued that there was no way that the team will cheat in grading the hotels because the exercise is strictly pegged to regional standards.
Among other agreed regional criteria is location of the hotel whereby, for a ‘One Star’ and ‘Two Star’ hotels, the location of the establishments should deserve being an Urban Hotel whereas for Three, Four and Five Star hotels, the location would be the same as for One and Two Star hotels but further offering easy accessibility, safety, comfort and tranquillity.
The rating will be done using the East African Community standardisation and classification system, which was adopted in 2009. Hotels are required to answer 300 questions in the grading process. This enables them to self-rate themselves from one-star to the highest level, five-star.
The self-rating will then be confirmed or altered by the committee. The then Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Ramo Makani, told parliament last year that most hotels in the country offer services that are contrary to their classes or grades.
He said most hotels need to improve services and the government plans to educate owners on the importance of offering better services that match with their classes or grades in order to improve tourism.