UTB gains Global Sustainable Tourism Council membership

by Business Times
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Uganda Tourism Board’s (UTB) decision to join the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is another milestone in improving Uganda’s tourism sector to international standards as mandated by the UTB. This comes after the Board resumes its grading and classification exercise which complies with UTB’s mandate to carry out registration,  license, inspect and classify tourism enterprises.

The Pearl of  Africa renowned for her exceptional tourist sites such as game parks and cultural heritage are to be strengthened towards environmental preservation for sustainable tourism.

The GSTC CEO Randy Durband said that joining the GSTC is a significant step forward in promoting sustainable tourism practices. “We value the commitment of the Uganda Tourism Board in supporting our mission . We look forward to working with them to advance Sustainable Tourism practices in Uganda and beyond ”. He elaborated as he encouraged Uganda to adhere to the GSTC Destination Criteria.

According to the CEO of UTB Lily Ajarova, Joining the Global Sustainable Tourism Council underscores Uganda’s dedication to fostering sustainable tourism development in the region. She says that the  collaboration aligns with our vision of promoting responsible travel practices while preserving our natural and cultural heritage for generations to come.”

Sustainable tourism is about responsible tourism practices while fostering environmental growth and having Uganda’s tourist areas maintain certain standards that are global and thriving by preserving all cultural and natural assets for future generations.

“It is an important step because we are making a commitment that aligns well with our vision and mission, working to advance those values to ensure they thrive beyond our existence. It’s important because according to the adopted 2030 agenda for SDG initiated in 2015. The Uganda Government organizes the leads for high-quality and inclusive development to consolidate the gains advanced by the SDGs and thus component aligns well with GSTC. 

So it’s a very important step in the protection of our assets and global affiliations toward the tourism scenes we have.” Says the senior public Relations Officer of UTB  Dr. Gessa Simplicious.

This partnership is also essential to the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions that contribute to the business side of tourism given that MICEs are held in various hotels, halls  restaurants and cottages where the different tourists prefer to stay also fostering unity between employers and their companies.

UTB annually grades various hotel facilities for standards like hotels, restaurants, motels cottages, under different categories respectively in five-star, four-star three three-star and two-star. Hotels without swimming pools can’t be five-star. An operating license is the first requirement for a standard hotel while grading is an extra luxury to a hotel’s brand.  This helps customers benchmark where they can find particular services.

“Hotels show interest to partake in this extra luxury measure beyond just a license that we offer, so these voluntarily are accredited and show interest, call us to grade and assess giving g them the rank,” says Dr. Gessa.

Dr. Gessa also emphasized the rigorous process through which these hotels are headed many hotels still under construction are not eligible to participate in the rating exercise for instance the Munyonyo Common Wealth Resort before NAM took place because the law prohibits them to.

Every star/ grade that UTB gives is compatible with the type of service provided at a particular hotel. Though this exercise is voluntary it is what is accredited internationally as a norm such that someone overseas can know what services to expect on being graded at a certain star.

About Global Sustainable Tourism Council

GSTC is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2010 that provides accreditation for sustainable tourism and manages GSTC criteria with global Tourism standards. Its criteria align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for managing sustainability, social, culture and Communication as well as the Environment.

Tourism fulfils its potential as a vehicle for social, cultural and economic good while removing and avoiding any negative impacts from its activities in terms of environmental and social impacts is GSTC’s vision.

Through developing International standards, providing  assurance for sustainable tourism, making  Destinations sustainable, promoting market access and increasing knowledge the GSTC looks forward to achieving its mission, “ To be an agent of change in the world of sustainable travel and tourism by fostering knowledge, understanding and demand for sustainable tourism practices.” 

UTB is a government organization that’s mandated to promote Uganda as the main tourist destination in Africa both locally and internationally established in 1994.

The Board’s mandate was reviewed in the Tourism Act 2008, to reform, consolidate and streamline laws relating to tourism; to provide licensing, regulating and controlling of the tourism sector; to give effect to the implementation of the tourism policy of Government; to reconstitute the Uganda Tourist Board to make it a private driven sector.

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