Hotel inspections over Covid-19 safety standards start in Uganda
The Uganda Tourism Board has kicked off inspection of hotels around the country to ensure compliance of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) put in place by the country’s tourism ministry as the hospitality sector begins to reopen inwake of COVID-19 pandemic.
The SOPs aim at providing health and safety protocols for all hotels and accommodation facilities in the country and create confidence amongst domestic and international visitors and workers.
The minister of state for Tourism, Mr Godfrey Kiwanda told media that the inspection was a critical part of the recovery process for Uganda’s tourism sector.
“Today, we kick off the inspection of the implementation of the SOPs. This exercise not only demonstrates the steps being taken by Uganda’s tourism sector in readiness and recovery but the commitment by both government and private sector to ensure the safety of both our citizens and tourists,” Kiwanda said.
According to a recent report released by the UN World Travel Organisation, health and safety will be a key determinant for travel by tourists across the world as the global industry recovers.
“In addition to maintaining the recommended health and safety measures of social distancing, sanitisation and wearing of masks, every hotel will going forward be required to have an isolation room, formulate an on-ground emergency task force and have a COVID-19 resource center accessible to all,” Kiwanda added.
UTB Deputy CEO, Mr Bradford Ochieng, said that the board in fulfilling its mandate ensures quality assurance across all tourism facilities and implementation of the SOPs is a key strategy in the revitalization of the sector.
“Ours is a promise that quality assurance in Uganda’s tourism facilities will be upheld across travel, accommodation, amenities and experience,” Ochieng said.
He added that UTB was in the process of developing a tourism sector recovery plan that is hoped to rebirth the sector.
The Chairperson of the Uganda Hotel Owners Association, Ms. Susan Muhwezi, called on the association members and the hospitality sector to uphold the SOPs put in place by the Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities.
“We understand that hotels have had to increase their operational costs to fit into what is now the new normal that led to the creation of the tourism Sector SOPs. We are hopeful that the government will support private sector investment in this process through the stimulus package,” She said.
The inspection will traverse the whole country starting with Kampala City and Entebbe town this week.