Workshops to prepare hotels for re-classification

15 June 2011

Amman– The process of bringing Jordan’s hotels up to date with the new hotel classification is underway, as the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA), Jordan Hotel Association (JHA) and USAID Jordan Tourism Development Project work to make sure all hotels understand the new system and prepare for re-classification. A series of awareness sessions and evaluations, which began earlier this year, continue this month through to September as the hotel sector readies itself to attain international standards.

"Quality is an important aspect of the service industry, and the new classification system will bring the standard of services and facilities at Jordan’s hotels up to international expectations, and this is vital if Jordan is to compete globally as a tourism destination," said H.E. Issa Gammoh, MoTA Secretary General.

"The assessment process helps hoteliers understand where their weaknesses are and allows a grace period for the minor adjustments and tweaking needed to raise standards," said Ibrahim Osta, Chief of Party.

"The awareness workshop was extremely informative and clarified several points. The new system is great in prioritizing the requirements that guests expect from an officially classified establishment.  We look forward to the evaluation process and to seeing the level of service improve in Jordan and rise to the international standards," said Mr. Hakam Barakat, Toledo Hotel General Manager.

MoTA, JHA and the USAID tourism project began implementing hotel classification awareness workshops for Jordan’s hotels in February of this year. The first workshops targeted five and four star hotels, informing them about the new system and guiding them through the process of conducting an online self-assessment. The new system uses web-based technology which hotels as well as assessors have access to, and which can be make assessments and apply for classification online ( goal of the online self-assessment is to identify current strengths and weaknesses and prepare for an initial hotel inspection by the national hotel classification Approved Assessors. There are 22 Approved Assosors from MoTA, JHA, ASEZA and the Petra Development & Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA). The four and five-star hotels were then assessed in March and April and received assessment reports on their status and what measures they need to take, if any, to remain within the same classification category under the new system. There are a total of 487 hotels and hotel apartments in Jordan, which collectively offer 23,882 rooms and employ more than 15,000 people.

This month, the three and two-star hotels are being informed about the new system and are now conducting their self-assessments in preparation for the initial assessments by MoTA inspectors in June and July. The same process will take place for one-star hotels in September and October.

The new classification system focuses on services rather than facilities. It is split into basic standards, which are mandatory, and optional standards. Hotels must meet all basic standards within their star category in order to ensure the basic needs of their guests regarding safety, hygiene and comfort are met. The optional standards use a points system whereby hotels must obtain a minimum number of points to get the definite star classification. There are 140 basic standards that must be met by one-star hotels and this increases by category, reaching 199 basic standards for five-star hotels. Optional standards are not applicable to one-star hotels and range from 44 for two-star hotels up to 73 optional standards that five-star hotels can meet.

All awareness sessions and the initial assessments that follow are due to be completed before the end of this year and in 2012 all hotels will need to apply for definite classification.