Hotels terrified as star-rating program creeps

By Berhanu Fekade, The Reporter

Hotel RatingAddis Ababa, Ethiopia – Established hotels in Addis Ababa are worried about the upcoming hotel star-rating program which has been in formulation for the past couple of months fearing possible downgrading from their previous self-assigned ratings and status of their hospitality services.

Experts of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), an organization that is hired to assist the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MoCT) to formulate the ratings of 400 hotels in Ethiopia, call it the EthioStar program. And upon completion, which is expected to be around October 2015, the program will assign internationally accepted star-ratings to all hotels, the ministry said.

The program made headway in the rating process by starting physical assessment of the hotel facilities in the capital last month (April).

In a three-day workshop that was held since Monday at Tommy International Hotel in Bishoftu, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Amin Abdulkadir, told stakeholders that some 40 hotels out of the total 132 which are expected to undergo the rating program in the capital have already been assessed. He also noted that the facilities will be compelled to undergo the same rigorous assessment programs every three-year to keep the star-rating that is assigned to them. On the other hand, the official star-rating program will also be incorporated into the country’s compulsory standard system that is observed by the Ethiopian Standards Agency. James Macgregor, team leader of the hotel star-rating program in Ethiopia, told The Reporter that he was surprised to see how hotel owners/general managers in Addis Ababa were terrified while the team of assessors made work visits to their facility. Macgregor, who calls the program EthioStar, says that out of the 40 hotels some five or six were found to be below standards to even be in the star-rating program. Most of these hotels basically fail to fulfill safety, hygienic and sanitary standards, Macgregor said, and will not be receiving any star-rating this round. He actually says that 35 out of 40 are not that bad.

Read more at: The Reporter