Fortune News | Feb 29,2020
March 7 , 2020
By SEBLE WONDEMAGEGN ( FORTUNE STAFF WRITER )
The government is preparing new mandatory health and hygiene standards for hotels and hospitality service providers.
Led by the Ethiopian Standard Agency, the standards are being prepared by a working group composed of members from the Addis Abeba Hotel Owners Association in partnership with the ministries of Culture & Tourism, Health, and Trade & Industry. The standards will be applied to businesses like hotels, restaurants, bars and grocery stores.
The standards are drafted in line with the national immunisation policy, and it is important to take early precautions to maintain personal and environmental hygiene and to reduce the spread of contagious diseases, according to Henok Hailu, health and health-related institutions assistant director at the Ministry of Health.
The draft is expected to be tabled to the National Standardisation Council for approval within the coming five months. Chaired by the Minister of Trade & Industry, the Council is composed of ministers and state ministers who are appointed by the Prime Minister. A committee comprised of government officials, private operators, academics and professionals will be tasked with revising and commenting on the draft before it reaches the Council.
The hygiene standards being prepared are part of the elements that are incorporated in the hotel classification system that specifically relate to aspects of health, hygiene and sanitation.
These are mandatory minimum requirements that are the basis for grading the establishments, according to Tewodros Derbew, international tourism facilitation directorate director, at the Ministry of Culture & Tourism.
The hotels and the service providers are required to demonstrate the standards in order to be rated by the Ministry of Culture & Tourism, which is bestowed with designing hotel standards and rating the establishments by awarding them with one to five stars. The hotel standards consist of mandatory and basic criteria including external and internal features, manpower, quality of services and entertainment facilities.
Two weeks ago the Ministry, which also assesses sustainability, technological efficiency and the organisational structure of hotels, awarded star ratings to four local hotels: Skylight, Denver, Belay and Bernot. There are more than 361 hotels that are rated by the Ministry.
Once the standards are set, they will remain active for five years before any revision, reaffirmation or withdrawal, according to Yesima Jeru, communications director at the Agency, which was established in 1972 and reports to the Ministry of Innovation & Technology.
So far, there are 253 mandatory and more than 10,780 voluntary standards approved by the Council.
Kumneger Teketel, managing director at Ozzie Hospitality & Management Consultancy, believes that even though it is a good initiative to have health and hygiene standards at the federal level, the Agency and the Ministry should take cues from the experience of other countries and include independent experts and consultants in the process.
“Requirements must be taken from international experiences," said Kumneger. "Then we have to contextualise them with the country."
Kumneger also recommends the Ministry establish a third-party institute that permanently evaluates whether the requirements are fulfilled and maintained once every year.
PUBLISHED ON Mar 07,2020 [ VOL 20 , NO 1036]
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