, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 9 – The Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA) is in November set to start afresh the classification and standardisation of tourism facilities and services in the country.
Speaking on Thursday during the National Tourism Network Forum, TRA head of standards and training accreditation Willis Ondiek said this will ensure standards and quality of service are adhered to, adding that lack of classification for over a decade had contributed to deterioration of hotel standards.
The last time the institutions were classified in Kenya was in 2003.
Ondiek said a classification team had already been set up and the names sent to the tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie. A criterion for the classification and standardisation had also been established.
Among the services to be classified and standardised include hotels, parks, sanctuaries and national reserves among others.
“We have plans to finish the classification by the end of 2015 ahead of the East African Community set deadline of June 2016. It will help hotels in their pricing, targeting their market as well as set basis for yearning for quality; we are also planning to register, license and grade all tourism related activities and services among them homestays so as they can be accountable,” he said.
The authority has at the same time issued a warning to facilities that operate as homestays, saying they must register in accordance with the law or risk being fined.
TRA also has plans of accrediting and registering tourism and hospitality training institutions in bid to ensure professionalism in the industry.
“We are also working on regulations to mainstream, organise, support, involve and prepare the Tourism Sector Associations (TSAs) for credible operations and contribution to quality regulation and destination management through self regulation,” said Ondiek.
He said TSAs should at least have a documented structured system with clear mission/ objectives – a clear criteria for membership, standards of practice and ethics, arbitration framework, TSA’s mission and membership improvement (training) plan; board, secretariat with appointed CEO, strategic plan, among others.
In a speech read on behalf of the Principal Secretary for Tourism Ibrahim Mohamed, he called upon industry stakeholders to work together in addressing emerging challenges towards tourism growth and development such as insecurity, travel advisories, limited tourism offerings, poor road network and regional competition.
“All these challenges calls for concerted effort to fight the challenges and come up with a way forward in fighting these challenges,” he added.