Amman – To enhance hotels across Jordan and bring them up to international quality standards, a new classification system has been developed for tourism accommodation. This system was officially adopted by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA) recently. The new hotel classification system was developed by the USAID/Jordan Tourism Development Project II and MoTA in cooperation with many parties from the public and private sectors, and it is based on the best practices in the hospitality industry in many European countries. It will be implemented across hotels, as well as hotel suites and apartments, by the end of 2010.
“The new classification system, for both hotels and other types of accommodation including hotel apartments, was developed in partnership with the private sector and it will make sure that all hotels in Jordan meet the high standards that international tourists expect,” said H.E. Ms. Maha Khatib, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities. She added, “This will help improve a key part of the tourist experience and contribute to a more enjoyable visit. It will also ease and speed up processes for owners of accommodation facilities.”
President of the Jordan Hotel Association, Mr. Michel Nazzal, said, “We welcome the new hotel classification system to raise hotel service standards and make it easier for hotel owners to improve their performance and therefore their classification. This will reflect positively on the revenue of the Jordanian tourism sector in general.”
“This new system is excellent and reflects international standards for hotel classification, which will add credibility to marketing of tourism destinations and create a good reputation for Jordan’s hotels by adopting high quality standards,” said Mr. Muhannad Malhas, General Manager of Abercrombie & Kent. He added, “More importantly than that, it will guarantee continued implementation of the standards through regular inspections.”
“Quality is critical to providing any service, and in the hotel sector is it vital,” said Dr. Joseph Ruddy, Component Leader at the USAID/Jordan Tourism Development Project II. “Tourists expect a minimum international level of tourism service and comfort and Jordan’s hotels must be able to provide this in order to compete as a global tourism destination. The new system will enable them to do this.”
Implementation of the new classification standards at hotel establishments will commence as of 31st January 2010. The process will follow a number of steps, beginning with launching a pre-implementation awareness program, in cooperation with JHA and MoTA, to educate hotel establishments about the new classification standards. The campaign will target owners and managers of hotels through awareness sessions that will be held in five areas in Jordan. Its purpose is to inform them about what the standards are and how the new system works. In addition, information booklets will be distributed to hotels and the classification website, due to be launched soon, will be introduced as a good source of information and a reference point. The awareness campaign will run from December 2009 into January 2010.
Training of classification inspectors will begin this month. This includes inspectors from MoTA, JHA and the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), who will be assessing the hotels in Aqaba. All inspectors will undergo a five-day training workshop to learn about the new standards and how they are used, as well as how to use the automated inspection system that has been developed for the new classification system.
MoTA has already begun to apply the new standards in classifying new hotels applying for a license for the first time, and efforts to implement the new standards at existing hotels will begin on 31 January 2010. Throughout 2010 all existing hotels will be inspected and given the results of their classification assessment, along with a grace period in which to address areas that need to be developed or upgraded to meet the new standards. By January 2011 hotels across Jordan, of all categories from 1-5 stars and deluxe class, should be re-classified under the new system. In addition, the standards will be continually updated in response to new trends in the tourism industry.