041 4342196 utb@utb.go.ug

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041 4342196 utb@utb.go.ug

UTB INSPECTS FOR MINIMUM STANDARDS IN ACCOMODATION FACILITIES

Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) launched a sensitization drive of stakeholders on the tourism regulatory mandate and minimum standards for accommodation facilities in Uganda. The training attracted local government officials that included public health inspectors, tourism and commercial officers. The training was launched by UTB Chief Executive Officer Ms. Lilly Ajarova. Others in attendance included UTB Quality Assurance Mr. Manager Samora Semakula and Permanent Secretary Representative Ministry of Local government Ms. Ruth Gyaayo on 20th June 2020 at Golden Tulip Hotel, Kampala. The training was the launch pad for the country wide rollout to cover the entire country. The first places covered in the nationwide sensitization drive included Entebbe, Nansana, Mukono, Jinja, Tororo, Gulu, Arua, Kalangala, Hoima, Masindi, Mbale, Soroti, among several other regions in the country.

The CEO UTB Lilly Ajarova in her remarks emphasized Uganda Tourism Board’s responsibility of enforcement and monitoring tourism standards in the tourism industry through registration, inspection, licensing, grading, and classification of tourism enterprises and services. This she noted was power vested in the institution under the Uganda Tourism Act 2008 Section 7, J and K. “Tourist accommodation facilities play a significant role in marketing the country as a preferred tourist place as well as showcasing the country as competitive and attractive destination,” she added.

The CEO explained that The Explore Uganda brand immersion should be matched with quality delivery and positive visitor experiences that create positive moments and customer delight. It was imperative therefore that the launch of the new refreshed destination brand Explore Uganda – The Pearl of Africa was a call to action for the country to reactivate and focus on competitive quality assurance. “All quality assurance activities currently speak into the branding project and are geared towards positioning Uganda as a must-visit destination,” she said.

Mr. Samora Semakula explained that UTB in most activities involves stakeholders across the tourism and hospitality value chain. These he said include accommodation facilities, tour operators, travel agents, and tour guides as per the Uganda Tourism Act 2008, citing the fact that quality assurance is dependent on policy, process, and product. “UTB supported the Hotel General Managers Association of Uganda’s training in April of this year, with the goal of retooling members of HOGMAU with more knowledge in the hospitality sector, current trends in information technology, and preparing them for grading and classification of accommodation facilities. The Board continues to plan and advocate for more training with partners in the sector,” he noted.

The Quality Assurance Manager further explained that UTB has had an online system, www.qasystem.utb.go.ug, that gives stakeholders the opportunity to appreciate the requirements and register for tourism services on the platform. Upon satisfaction of minimum requirements, operators are issued a tourism operating license and certificate in their email. It’s only inspection that is done physically since it requires physical interaction with the stakeholders at their premises.

For tour guides, since they provide skilled and professional services, after registration with UTB, they must be assessed by the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) and the successful ones shall be issued with an e-license certificate.

UTB also partnered with the Ministry of Local Government (MOLG) and public health inspectors in local governments to assist in enforcement of the standards in facilities within their local governments. Through this, the board has managed to identify the potential accommodation facilities that are registered with URSB and have the potential for licensing and grading. Support from the board is only given to licensed operators. Such support include recommendation for participation in regional and international events, participation in marketing expos and Global Distribution System service providers with Amadeus and Galileo.

UTB has launched aggressive awareness campaigns about the classification process and the requirements for the classification of lodging facilities. To this end, the board with funding from UNDP has procured an e-grading system and logistics (tablets) where the e-grading system has been uploaded. Training is ongoing on the operationalization of this e-grading system. It’s expected that grading and classification will commence in January 2023.

The board projects great improvement, standardization, streamlined and regulated compliance sectors in the next 5 years giving the visitors the experience of a lifetime for better referral business, increased length of stay and greater revenue realization by the private sector. A number of partnerships have been initiated starting with UHOA as a private association to improve co-regulation of the hospitality sector. Partnerships with local government, URSB, and URA to improve business operations whilst working closely with other public and private bodies to improve service delivery.

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