The northern Gulf states of Bahrain and Qatar are rolling out new hotel classification systems this year.
While Qatar was expected to debut its listing in May, Bahrain is working on a list in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
In Bahrain, this programme will be funded by the government and implemented by the UNWTO. Work on the system will begin later this year and although the time limit for its completion has not been set, the vast majority will be developed in the first year, UNWTO technical co-operation official James Yoo told the Gulf Daily News.
Yoo said the system would give tourists information on what they can expect from different classifications of hotels, as well as provide hoteliers with a clear perspective on what services, facilities and standards they should offer. “This classification system won't be perfect, but its impact will be more positive than negative,” said Yoo.
"It will review the current system and see that it's being implemented correctly and the government has the resources and knowhow to implement it and make sure hotels are complying. Bahrain is undergoing a period of development and it's very exciting for the industry." He said the existing classification system would not be abandoned, but updated to strengthen the industry and to take into consideration new government constraints on entertainment licences, for example.
The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), meanwhile, is rolling out the new classification together with GATO International Tourism Organisation for Development & Investment (GATO). QTA acting director-general Jan Poul de Boer said: “The new classification system will establish a high degree of transparency for Qatar’s’ current and future guests and guarantee continued quality of its lodging establishments.”
Qatar is currently experiencing enormous development of its tourism infrastructure, especially on the accommodation level as over 8,000 new hotel rooms are under construction. In addition landmark developments are currently underway.
All this will strongly substantiate Qatar’s claim to actually become the desired quality destination.
International benchmarks and guest surveys have clearly indicated that an ever increasing emphasis is placed on service quality.
To cater for the shifting consumer demand and to achieve a sustainable development, a two-tiered hotel classification system has been selected for the roll out of the new hotel classification system.
The first phase will focus on quantitative (hard) factors (such as amount and size of rooms, facilities and services provided), in addition to the cleanliness, maintenance and quality of the building and its furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E). This phase will be compulsory for all lodging establishments.
The second phase will entirely focus on qualitative (soft) factors. It will allow hoteliers to up-grade their bronze rating to a silver or gold classification to indicate outstanding service quality.
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