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UTB moves to crack the whip on standards in tourism sector


The Uganda Tourism Board is set to tighten the noose around proprietors disregarding standards in the tourism and hospitality sector.According to UTB CEO, Lilly Ajarova, in a bid to hit the target of $50 billion in earnings per year by 2040 from the tourism sector, it is high time standards are enforced to ensure quality services are provided to clients.“We have previously been dealing with the big facilities already registered and licenced with us. However, we realized that most of the smaller facilities are not registered or licenced. For us to be able to maintain the minimum standards we require for accommodation facilities, we will be carry out this exercise with our key partners to sensitise the facility owners including guest houses, lodges, hotels and many others that get to host visitors whether nationals, regional or international,” Ajarova said.She was on Friday speaking during a training for tourism police officers in enforcing tourism standards.Ajarova said it will be a door to door sensitization to ensure every stakeholder appreciates the requirements as far as offering accommodation is required.“Through this exercise, we want to educate the business owners of what the minimum required standards are but we will also give them time to improve for those who don’t meet the standards. Thereafter we will then start licencing and registering those that have not yet done so. Those who go beyond the period of time we will provide; we will then enforce the standards.”She however said UTB will not straightaway go into enforcing of standards before sensitizing the business owners to appreciate the minimum standards.Ajarova explained that UTB has been moved by the number of new accommodation businesses that have come up during this time, adding that there is need to ensure standards in the sector.“There is a number of new businesses in this sector that have not registered but there are also old ones that we didn’t know. This time round we need to clean up since the tourism sector is growing. We need to make sure there is order, minimum requirements are met by all services providers in the industry. We have to make sure services are of a certain standard and quality, otherwise, visitors will continue complaining of the services offered in the country,”Ajarova said.BenefitsThe UTB CEO said this phase is majorly for accommodation facilities and restaurants but noted that these businesses stand to benefit from this exercise.“Every licenced tourism facility gets to be on the UTB website and that means we offer them a marketing opportunity because so many, especially international travelers would run to see the website of the tourism board to get information. When they come to UTB website to see hotels and tour operators, we are marketing you for an opportunity to be chosen among others,” Ajarova emphasized.“ Besides being on the UTB website, on quarterly basis we publish the names in the print media and this is yet another opportunity to market them. We also offer training for the ones we have in our database.”The registration for accommodation facilities goes for shs100,000 which is paid once while the licence also goes for the same amount for a year.According to UTB, these are part of efforts to  improve the quality of services and facilities offered to tourists, and to promote Uganda as a premier tourist destination working with stakeholders to rebuild and restart the sector as the global tourism and travel industry resumes.

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