Hardly eight months after tourist hotels grading exercise launched in Tanzania, the government has abolished fees paid by hotel owners to the grading teams.
Tanzania’s new Minister for Tourism Dr. Hamis Kigwangala abolished fees in the grading exercise for tourist hotels in Tanzania.
Grading and classification of tourist accommodation establishments was a requirement by the East African Community (EAC) regional plan aimed at marketing the region as single tourist destination with standardized accommodation and other services offered through hotels, lodges and wildlife camps.
The Tanzanian Tourism minister said weeks ago that the classification exercise has been wrongly carried with hotel owners paying a uniform fee amounting American dollars 3,500 (US$ 3,500) to grading teams against the government procedures on rating Tanzania’s accommodation establishments.
Hotel owners and managers had earlier complained over the high and quoted classification fees set by the grading teams, saying the exercise was expensive to most of them.
Hotels Association of Tanzania ( HAT) Chief Executive Officer Ms. Nura-Lisa Karamagi said the grading exercise of Tanzania hotels and lodges was vital in marketing Tanzania along with other EAC member states.
She told eTN that the hotel industry has been burdened with multiple fees and taxes.
“We are looking mostly on quality service delivery that would compete with other EAC members, also thinking of the quality of our hotel services we offer”, she said.
In August this year, the Ministry of natural Resources and Tourism which has been carrying out the Grading exercise released a list of Five to One Star hotels, lodges and camps.
Tanzania has about nine Five Star hotels located in Arusha and Dar es Salaam with 19 Four-Stars, 65 Three-Stars, 81 Two-Stars with a number of hotels rated One-Star class.
Serena Hotel, the Kilimanjaro Hyatt Regency and Sea Cliff were the bona fide five-star tourist accommodation facilities located in Tanzania’s commercial capital of Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean coast.
The three hotels were rated Five Star Class in August this year using the Criteria for Standardization of Tourism Facilities developed under the auspices of the East African Community (EAC). The grading and classification exercise began early this year.
Classification of tourist class hotels and other accommodation establishments is being executed by the East African Community (EAC) in all five member states of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.
The exercise to classify hotels has been initiated by the EAC members in efforts to improve tourism services and hospitality sector in the region and stimulate competition in service delivery, efficiency, and responsibility among the governments and the business stakeholders in travel and tourism sectors.
More than 60 hotel inspection experts have been trained in Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi for executing the classification and evaluation duties in grading the properties.
With a total workforce of about 400,000 employees, tourist hotels in Tanzania are braving to match with cost cutting measures after the government restricted its agencies to book them for conferences and accommodation services.