Africa: Minister of Tourism cancels Hotel Grading results in Tanzania
THE Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Hamis Kigwangalla, has nullified all results from recent hotel grading, citing complaints that the entire exercise was dubious.
Addressing stakeholders in travel, tourism, conservation and hospitality industries at the climax of his weeklong tour of Arusha Region, the minister said the ‘hotel grading exercise,’ whose second instalment results were announced about two months ago, left “a lot to be desired” in regard to the process on how it was conducted.
“… I have heard that hotel owners were subjected to paying $3,500 … to the grading teams … this sounds like bribing these operators to give you higher accreditation,” the minister observed.
He says: “… there’s great possibility that many of the hotels ranked that high did not even deserve the so-called ‘stars’ … while those that could not get higher ratings were not acknowledged because they were unwilling to pay,” pointed out the minister.
Last August, the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism released results for the second leg of the country’s ‘Hotel Grading,’ the exercise which so far have covered Arusha, Manyara and Dar es Salaam regions.
Arusha was lucky with ten properties that were accredited with ‘Five- Star,’ rating, to wit: the Mount Meru Hotel in the town hotels category and Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge on the Vocational Lodges category.
Other five star properties were all lodges, mostly located in National Parks or in surrounding areas such as Karatu, such as the Ngorongoro Oldean, Manor Ngorongoro, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, Tarangire Sopa Lodge, Legendary Lodge, Acacia Farm House and Lake Manyara Lodge.
There were also 19 four star properties, 65 three star properties, 81 properties with 2 stars and three properties accredited with the lowest single (1) star grading.
The Manyara property grading exercise had two hotels that managed to reach 4 stars category, 11 others earned 3 stars, four properties got 2 stars and their other accommodation premises were reported still under refurbishment but likely to earn at least a single star badge each.
‘And Beyond’ operated, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge,’ was declared the best property earning the company 4 stars. And Beyond is also behind the mega luxurious Ngorongoro Crater Lodge in Ngorongoro and Kleins Camp in Serengeti.
Properties that earned 3 stars include the Tarangire Safari Lodge, Kirurumo Under-Canvas Lodge, the Eco-Science, Science Centre & Luxury Lodge, Un-Lodge En Afrique Tented Lodge, Tarangire Treetops Lodge, Maramboi Tented Lodge and Roika Tented Lodge.
Campsites were also not left behind with Kikoti Safari Camp getting 4 stars, Sanctuary Swala Tented Camp earning 3 stars, Balloon Tarangire Tented Camp also getting 3 stars.
The three stars also went to Maweninga Tented Camp, and Tarangire River Camp. Oliver’s Camp, Manyara Ranch Conservancy Tented Camp and Lake Burunge Tented Camp all earned 2 stars as far as camping properties were included in the Manyara grading exercise.
The exercise enrolled a total of 32 hotels and lodges for the initial evaluation but only 12 of them were found to be sub-standard leaving 20 properties to undergo hospitality property standardisation exercise which led to a number of them being badged with stars.
Until recently, Arusha which is the tourism capital and gateway to the Northern Circuit was featuring just about 2,800 hotel beds, but said to have topped this number to 3,000, while Mwanza despite its tourism potential has only 920, Kilimanjaro also around 916 and Mbeya a measly 670; at least Dar es Salaam has more than 3,000 hotel beds.