TANZANIA (eTN) - When stakeholders in the hotels and accommodation establishments are set to meet in Nairobi next month in the first ever Africa Hotels Investment Forum (AHIF) to discuss the hotel investment opportunities in Africa, Tanzania is set to launch the second phase of hotels classification in the northern region of Manyara.
Reports from Tanzania's Ministry of Tourism said the classification of hotels and accommodation establishments is set to be carried in the upcoming tourist region of Manyara in the northern circuit.
This exercise is the second in sequence, after the first one carried in the two Indian Ocean zones, involving the coastal region and the capital city of Dar es Salaam.
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, and Uganda, with Burundi for executing the classification and evaluation duties in grading the properties.
Despite the mushrooming of hotels in the coast region and Tanzania's capital city of Dar es Salaam, only three hotels were qualified to the five-star status out of the inspected 66 accommodation establishments picked for grading.
The first classification exercise was carried during the first months of 2010 and picked Movenpick Royal Palm (now Serena Dar es Salaam Hotel), Kilimanjaro Hotel Kempinski (now Hyatt Regency the Kilimanjaro) and Sea Cliff Hotel as the only accommodation facilities qualified for a five-star status.
During the process, 25 hotels were graded at three-star class, 12 hotels scored a four-star grade, 16 other hotels were graded a two-star class, and 10 properties were classified a single-star class.
The East African Community's Council of Ministers had in November 2006, the approved hotels and accommodation establishments classification and standardization criteria to be used in the East African region in the quest to attract more capital into the economic grouping.
The standardized classification guarantees higher quality tourism facilities and better management of the hospitality industry. The classification is expected to mitigate customer complaints of being charged at higher tariffs than the level of the hotel.
Hotel services in Tanzania have been reported of poor quality and lacking qualified manpower to meet the required standards for high-class tourists. In some cases, no specific rates for a hotel room is known in Tanzania, while the owners overcharge foreign visitors contrary to advertised rates.
Several complains have been lodged to the Tanzania government by various tourists and business visitors, complaining of paying higher, while services provided were poor and unworthy.
After the classification exercise and grading of all hotels, the Director of Tourism in Tanzania will monitor and punish those hotel operators who do not adhere to the requirements and cheat the visitors.
Nairobi is preparing to host many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies, and their advisers for the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF).
To be held at the InterContinental Hotel from September 25 to 26, the conference's agenda will focus on how to capitalize long-term on the opportunities presented by Africa and strategies to overcome the challenges facing the hotel and accommodation sector in the African continent.