Official urges enterprises to comply with BOBS

21 Nov 2023

 Owners of enterprises licensed under Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) have been urged to familiarize themselves with Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to understand what is required for grading their facilities.

Apprising tourism operators on grading and classification of licensed tourists enterprises during a meeting in Maun November 21, BTO ecotourism officer, Mr Moreboloki Otsetswe said the organisation was implementing six grading standards for serviced accommodation which were reviewed every five years hence the need to know such standards.

 Mr Otsetswe said the Quality Service department of the BTO had the responsibility to ensure licensed tourist enterprises implement appropriate grading standards in accordance with BOBS.

He said grading in Botswana was mandatory and Section 25 of the Botswana Tourism Act provides that the organization in accordance with Section 27 graded all tourists enterprise licensed. He urged all to comply with all minimum grading requirements as prescribed by BOBS grading standards for hotels and related establishments.

Mr Otsetswe said failure to meet the set requirements may lead to appropriate action being taken by the Department of Tourism. 

He shared penalties for those operating enterprises that were not graded. 

In accordance with the law, a person who committed the offence is liable for a fine not exceeding P20 000 or to a prison term not exceeding five years or both.

He said the act also allowed that any person aggrieved by any decision of Botswana Tourism in grading or refusing to re-grade or to amend the grading of a tourists enterprise or as to any condition attached to such grading may appeal to the minister within 30 days of that decision.

Mr Otsetswe encouraged operators to do the right thing, noting that grading system and classification was used to differentiate the various quality levels of accommodation establishments and provides judgments on the same amenities, facilities and services of a particular tourist enterprise in a way that enables travellers to choose the quality they want.

“Grading is very important as it assures customers about the quality of services and facilities you to provide and increase customer satisfaction and give you a competitive advantage over non-accredited businesses,” he added.

Mr Otsetswe appealed to enterprise owners to always provide relevant and accurate information so that they could fairly qualify for star grading saying that could also help them to improve service delivered.

He said some enterprises could end up being ungraded because they failed to meet minimum requirements citing that some had lost quality personnel during COVID 19 pandemic to save costs and it was a challenge to recruit skilled staff. 

He encouraged operators to look into the issue as it could be a disadvantage to their operations.

However, he mentioned some of the benefits of grading such as recognition nationally and internationally for commitment to standards and service within the hospitality industry and displaying of plaques issued by BTO as well as participating at the marketing fairs organised by the BTO. 

The system also allowed for standard to be put in place, encourages competition among establishment and also assist travel agents too understand the product and match supply and demand.

The gathering was also informed that standards for mobile safaris were under review and those affected were encouraged to make some recommendations during stakeholder consultations. ENDS 

Source : BOPA

Author : Esther Mmolai

Location : MAUN

Event : MEETING

Date : 21 Nov 2023