Uganda Tourism reviewing quality of hotels


KAMPALA, Uganda – Under the Quality Assurance Department program, a hotel classification inventory exercise is being embarked upon by the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) to verify whether a given hotel meets certain essential requirements.

The UTB is grading and classifying hotels and related accommodation facilities, which began on March 21, 2016.

“To qualify for classification, the hotel has to meet all aspects of the essential requirements herewith attached,” said James Ssebagala, the UTB Coordinator for Quality Assurance.

“This exercise identifies classifiable hotels for effective preparation for the hotel classification program,” he added.

Last year, the Uganda Tourism Board held an awards ceremony for hotels previously classified under the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities. The classification function was moved to UTB in 2014.

UTB Chief Executive Officer Stephen Asiimwe said that the ongoing inventory exercise is to guide in the assessment and standardization of accommodation facilities in Uganda.

“Uganda is classifying hotels, working with the same standards used by all East African Community members. It is a requirement that all accommodation facilities be classified under the same EAC standards,” said Asiimwe.

The present grading covers the physical and intangible service expected from an accommodation facility in a specified category and level of classification, he added.

The East African Criteria rating system is denoted by stars where one star denotes the lowest and 5 star is the highest grade. Save for motels and restaurants whose star rating range is from one to 3 and 3 to 5 respectively, all the other categories are graded from one to 5 stars.

Meeting eyes with a silverback mountain gorilla across a misty jungle after an arduous hike through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, leaves everlasting impressions of arguably the best wildlife safari in the world.

But there’s much more to Uganda.

Rich in nature, it’s an outdoor sanctuary of crater lakes, white-sand beaches on lake islands, thundering waterfalls, and national parks. A top highlight is Ngamba Island Chimp Sanctuary, where rescued and orphaned chimpanzees live out their days on an island in Lake Victoria. Visitors can cross the equator by boat there, slicing through Africa’s largest lake.

What’s new? The Pope’s landmark visit is spurring plans towards Uganda 2040, when it aims to become a middle-income nation. Infrastructure improvements are part of the plan.

“While the crowds are in the Serengeti or Masaai Mara, you’ll find a lush country with fewer tourists in Uganda,” said Thornton of Intrepid Travel. “Mountain gorillas are the main attraction, but the countryside offers many activities.”

Away from the wild, visitors can enjoy the vibrant life of Kampala – the entertainment city of East Africa that never goes to sleep. Going east, one can travel to Jinja, the adventure capital of East Africa where the Nile begins its journey to Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. The ashes of Gandhi, the great leader of India, were sprinkled at the source of the Nile in Jinja where they too began their journey to the rest of the world.

Wherever a visitor goes in Uganda, s/he is sure to enjoy the best of the people – with 56 languages and dialects where one can sample many cultures, foods, and lifestyles – all linked by the smile and warmth that defines the people of Uganda. It is a nation that brings together all people, and that is probably why Mahatma Ghandi’s ashes were sent to the world from this location at the source of the Nile.

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