The Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MoCT) says that the second phase of hotel star rating would play an essential role in enhancing the hospitality sector and boosting international competitiveness.
Ministry's Tourist Services Quality Assurance and Rating Director Tewodros Derebew tells The Ethiopian Herald that hotel raking is one of the key instruments to enable the hotels provide quality service and create a healthy competition among one another.
The Director indicates that the second phase of rating, which is planned to be held this year, does not include the existing star-designated hotels. He further notes "The process incorporates new hotels and lodges for the first time."
According to Tewodros, services such as food and entertainment, room size and additional amenities, spas and fitness centers, ease of access and location are considered in establishing hotel standards.
He states that the rating is beneficial to inform international tourists on basic services and facilities they could obtain from a particular hotel and lodge in a neutral and genuine manner.
The Director says: "The rating is expected to satisfy tourists' demand to get seamless recreational packages and enable them obtain an appropriate service for what they paid for."
Tewodros further points out that the rating would be essential for hotel owners to improve the kind and quality of service they offer for local and foreign customers. Moreover, he adds it would also help them in their marketing platform.
This new system is beneficial for travel agents and tour operators to incorporate clear messages in their recreational packages to travelers, he adds.
According to the Director, the ranking is also essential in enforcing hotels and lodges to have fair price rate depending on their category and to control overpricing.
Tewodros says: "The government, as policy implementing organ, would also benefit from the star rating in consolidating its efforts to develop tourist attraction sites and formulating a consistent supervision of the hospitality sector."
Preparation is well underway to the second phase of hotel star rating and MoCT has been giving trainings and other capacity building programs for local professionals whom solely handle the task, the Director notes.
During the first star rating program, conducted two years ago, some 167 hotels have received official ratings. Addis Ababa alone has 80 hotels rated, of which six are five starred.