Though classification of Rwandan hotels, to meet the standards of the East African Community (EAC) is set to end by the end of this year, many of the local hotels have not met the basic requirements to be classified.
Only seven hotels have submitted the requirement to be classified and 50 hotels are expected to be classified by the end of this year. EAC classification of hotels paves away for single tourism destination.
In an interview with the Tourism Inspection Officer, Frank Murangwwa, said that the deadline to submit a list of essential items for classification is 30th October 2009.
“We had targeted early this month to have a list of classifiable hotels, but because classification involves a lot of work we decided to push the deadline to end this month,” he said. In a move to help hotel owners work on basic items for classification about 100 hotel proprietors across the country were trained.
Currently tourism industry is booming with increased number of rooms to 4,225 this year from 3,438 last year.
“There is a boom in the sector and this shows how people have picked interest in the industry,” he said.
Murangwa however, acknowledged that there is still a big room to improve because among the rooms, very few qualify for hotel standards.
He emphasized that basic items are essential in order to be classified because even if one is lacking they can’t be put on the classifiable list. Some of the basic items include occupation permit, sewage and treatment facilities, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
According to Murangwa, classification will be done in two categories, one being classification and guidelines for approved hotels. Hotels with approved guidelines will need to improve on some few things to be classified but they will be allowed to operate.
“Classification of hotels will put Rwanda on the world map because these are basics considered by tourists before coming,” he said.
Murangwa said that Rwandan hotels have been operating with out any standards, yet classification is a marketing tool for their business by knowing the segment of clients they are targeting.
“If they want to stay in the market, classification is essential because it positions hotels in a good level with competitive products,” Murangwa said.
Hotel classification will also help government set strategies and plan in the move to promote conference tourism.