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Tourism : Burundi’s adjustment to the EAC standard norms not ready

The identification and classification of hotels and other touristic institutions in conformity with EAC standard norms will not take place as scheduled. The main cause is the lack of fund.-By Diane Uwimana

Khamisi Hasangirabakize: “This will create competitions between EAC hotels and other touristic institutions. EAC hotels and other touristic institutions will have the same price according the required norms”.©Iwacu

Khamisi Hasangirabakize: “This will create competitions between EAC hotels and other touristic institutions. EAC hotels and other touristic institutions will have the same price according the required norms”.©Iwacu

“The assessment and classification of different hotels and other touristic institutions will not happen as it was convened. This operation was supposed to start at the end of this year, according to the recommendation taken during the last training offered to 14 Burundian “assessors. Different donors and partners have not given the fund at the right time,” explains Khamisi Hasangirabakize, Judiciary Adviser in the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Posts and Tourism. It is worth mentioning that from 23 November 2012 to 4 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 and the criteria of classifying types of hotels, guest houses, restaurants according to their locations. The main interest of Burundi in that training is the article 115 of the Treaty for the creation of the EAC, describing in particular the classification of hotels and the harmonization of the agents’ professional norms of touristic industries within the community. “The activity of classification that we will proceed at the opening of the second phase (the 1st was the sensitization about the criteria), stems from the will of the community to improve all the advantages that the sector of tourism can provide and give priority to the quality of services offered to tourists,” points out Hasangirabakize. The classification will be made per categories: “After the assessment and classification, hotels and other touristic institutions will be dispatched in holiday resort hotels, city dwells and residential area hotels”.

Those which will do not fulfil EAC requirement norms, will not be recommended

Hotels and other touristic institutions must fulfil about 5000 standard norms as it is recommended by the international standard. According to the Judiciary Adviser in the Ministry of Trade, Posts, Industry and Tourism, those which are going to miss the opportunity to be assessed and classified among the EAC standard norms will not be recommended for tourists. “This will be a huge failure for our touristic managers in the country,” regrets Hasangirabakize. For the first time, we are going to regulate all those wrong things in this sector. Application measures will help to regulate and take appropriate sanctions to those which do not fulfil all the requirements, and so different steps will follow: “warning, formal legal demand, amend and closure.” The assessment and classification are made to help tourists judge and classify touristic hotels and institutions according to the same EAC requirement norms. “This will create competitions between EAC hotels and other touristic institutions. EAC hotels and other touristic institutions will have the same price according the required norms”, says Hasangirabakize. Thus, he recalls whoever wants to build a hotel or other touristic institutions to consult the Ministry in Charge of Infrastructure about all requirement norms before starting any construction.

Lyse Bizindavyi, Chairperson of Hotels and Tourism Sectorial Chamber in Burundi (HTB), indicates that the majority of touristic institutions of Burundi don’t respond to norms required by EAC. Furthermore, before assessing and classifying any hotel or other touristic institution, she suggests that sensitization may be addressed first to those who are building hotels or any other touristic institution to comply with fixed EAC requirements. “The assessment and classification will occur every year. If the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Posts and Tourism runs its sensitization very well, those hotel and tourism promoters may improve their infrastructure as recommended”, she concludes.