Both Kigali and Lake Kivu Serena hotels have received the international certification for food safety and hygiene from SGS, an international company dealing in independent quality management systems certification.
The certification, which is valid from May 2009, to May 30, 2012, makes the Serena hotels the first and only hotels in Rwanda to have gained such recognition.
“This certification is in recognition of our efforts. We cannot afford to go backwards once we have been certified,” Mugo Maringa, the Serena Hotel Kigali Country Manager, said on Monday after receiving the honourable certificate.
Mugo added that the achievement should also encourage other hotels to undergo the same exercise as it will boost the hotel industry in the county.
He noted that the certification is a major requirement for international travellers because their countries are protected by the Customer Protection Act and that it gives them the right to request for a refund if their standards are not met by the hotel.
“This helps the tour operators since most of their customers demand for such information. Certification gives assurance to the tourists,” Mugo explained.
To get certified, the hotel had to undergo a rigorous inspection process encompassing the quality of hygiene standards covering areas such as basic and personal hygiene, food handling practices, cleaning and sanitization, waste management, food microbiological analysis and food preparation surfaces.
Lake Kivu Serena beat Kigali Serena by a point. Lake Kivu scored 89 percent while Kigali scored 88 percent.
“To meet growing food safety and quality requirements, you need to ensure that your supply chain is secure. Establishing a food safety management system and getting it certified is an important step towards meeting these requirements. But the hotel has to also maintain the standards to retain the certification,” Ronald Matsiera, the SGS representative said.
Matsiera added that it is important that hotels are checked because it gives confidence to their customers and attracts them business.
SGS certificates are recognized globally as a symbol of compliance with established standards and business excellence.