“The classification operates under three types of categories such as sensitization of economic and hotels’ operators, pre-classification and assessment and classification”, explains Khamisi Hasangirabakize, Legal Advisor in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Posts and Tourism.-By Diane Uwimana
He indicates that the Ministry in partnership with EAC Secretariat trained 14 Burundian “Assessors” but among them 11 are certified. “They were trained and tested by EAC secretariat”, says Hasangirabakize. The assessors will work closely with experts from EAC. “The Ministry has also implemented a technical committee in charge of classifying touristic institutions”, he adds.
Concerning the first step, all economic and hotels’ operators are aware of the activity. “We have gathered provinces in four groups such as Bujumbura City Council, Ngozi, Gitega and Rutana areas during the sensitization campaign”, points out the Legal Advisor.
Now, he continues, “the Ministry is proceeding to identify hotels and other touristic institutions being classified”.
Those which will do not fulfil EAC requirement norms, will not be strongly recommended
The hotels and other touristic institutions must fulfil about 5000 standard norms as it is recommended by the international standard. According to the Legal Advisor in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Posts and Tourism, those which are going to miss the opportunity to be assessed and classified among the EAC standard norms will not be strongly recommended to tourists. “This will be a huge failure for our touristic managers in the country,” regrets Hasangirabakize. The assessment and classification are made in the context of facilitating tourists to put in place the same EAC services within the same categories of hotels and restaurants.
“This will create a competition between EAC hotels and other touristic institutions. EAC hotels and other touristic institutions will have the same price according to the required norms”, says Hasangirabakize.
Thus, he recalls that whoever wants to build a hotel or other touristic institution should consult the Ministry in Charge of Building and Construction which will indicate all requirement norms before starting any construction. “Furthermore, I take this opportunity to remind those who build hotels to take into consideration parking places and qualified staff personnel because they are highly considered ”, he recalls. It is worth reminding that from 23rd November 2012 to 4th February 2013, candidates learned how to classify touristic institutions in compliance with the established EAC criteria. The training somehow focused on the process of classification of hotels, restaurants and other touristic locations, the introduction to the standardization and classification of touristic institutions; criteria of classifying types of hotels, guest houses, restaurants according to their locations.
The main motivation of Burundi in that training is the Article 115 of the Treaty establishing EAC. This one describes in particular the classification of hotels and the harmonization of the agents’ professional norms of touristic industries within the community.
The list of 14 “Assessors” was made on the basis of the advertisement made by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Posts and Tourism. It was addressed to different ministries and the private sector. The candidates must own a Bachelor’s Degree.