Ethiopia: Long-Awaited Hotel Grading Begins for 600 Hotels in Ethiopia

By Snetsehay Assefa* International consultants, local experts partnering with Ministry of Culture & Tourism [caption id="attachment_16120" align="alignleft" width="285"]Photo: Tami Hultman/AllAfrica Addis Ababa (file photo). Photo: Tami Hultman/AllAfrica
Addis Ababa (file photo).[/caption] The Ministry of Culture & Tourism (MoCT), together with consultants from United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has started grading and accreditation of 200 hotels in Addis Ababa and 400 hotels in the rest of the country starting mid-January, 2015. The Technical committee from Ministry of Culture & Tourism (MoCT) prepared the document that is going to be used for the grading of the hotels. Before the grading system is approved by Ethiopian Standard Agency, which is the national standard body, different stakeholders such as Ethiopian Hotel Association, hotel owners, and Hotel and Tourism Institutions had deliberated on the document. On December 28, 2014, MoCT had signed a consultancy agreement with United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the implementation of the hotel grading and accreditation. The project, financed by the World Bank (WB), costs 492,414 dollars. To carry out the implementation, nine UNWTO staff members arrived in Addis starting from mid-January, 2015 accompanied by 30 Ethiopian experts for the job. The grading result of hotels will be announced on September, 2015. Hotels, to be eligible for grading should have at least 10 rooms, fulfill all the legal regulation requirements for health, safety and security fire, environmental requirements for waste management and have certified documentary evidence of compliance, according to the Hotel-Rating Requirements & Classification document. Availability of skilled, qualified and certified staff are also required for all stars. The document listed various specifications under 12 evaluation categories that range from exterior building, parking, gardening, safety and security, housekeeping and maintenance to kitchen. And the specification goes in detail and examines decoration, lighting, electronic appliances, flooring, escalators, ceiling, space etc. The grading will be awarded based on the score given on these evaluations. Hotels that scores more than 80pc will be awarded five stars, if it scores 70, 60, 50 or 30 it will be awarded four, three, two or one star respectively, stated the document. The five stars convey exceptional standard while the four conveys excellent, three, two and one convey very good, good and acceptable standard respectively.

The Ministry is engaged in different comprehensive and integrated interventions to address key constraints in the sector. The need for hotel grading and accreditation is one of the intervention areas identified by it. “We are aware of the challenges in relation to hotel grading from the start but only now have we become committed and integrated the goal as one of our Growth & Transformation Plans,” stated Gezahegn Abate, international and public relation directorate director of MoCT. It took almost four years for the Ministry to come up with the grading document and this is due to long and intensified deliberation with stakeholders to customize it in accordance with Ethiopia’s hotel status, according to Gezahegn. In the past, hotels would award themselves whatever grade they felt seemed to fit them, he added. The set standard, however, can be difficult for some hotels to meet, especially evaluation in relation to size will need demolishing building to meet the standard, which is inconsiderable, stated Zenawi Mesfin, general manager of Intercontinental Hotel Addis, which has so far given itself a five-star grade. Hotels that fail to meet the standard will be given three months time and support to improvise their status with the set standard, according to Gizachew. But if the hotel fails after three months it will not be eligible for the grading process. For the past six years in Addis Abeba, hotel numbers have grown by 12 on average in a year and it is expected to reach 18 hotels per year in the coming six years. The number of rooms in the past six years has grown by 5,000, which amounts to 750 rooms per year and currently there are 7,500 hotel rooms in the capital. *Source allafrica]]>

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