MAUN ÔÇô The just ended Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB)’s annual conference held in Maun has reiterated the association’s stand on the use of internet as one of the primary requirements when grading hospitality facilities in the country.
The decision follows the government’s campaign that started a few years back to close the gap between licensing and grading standards of hospitality establishments in order to bring standards in line with clients’ expectations.
A study carried out by Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) in 2014 recommended that the hospitality industry must be urgently connected to high speed internet. BOCRA noted that the provision of internet to customers has become an inseparable part of service provision in the hospitality industry worldwide.
BOCRA also recommended that all hospitality facilities should have universal internet access, with bandwidth that is capable of serving all their guests. A separate dedicated internet connection must be provided for premises which have conference facilities especially during events.
At the same time, the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) has also been urged to set clearly defined parametress for availability of internet at hospitality premises as one of the criteria to qualify for a license and grading of the facilities.
However HATAB Chief Executive Officer Lily Rakorong said Friday that they believe that when grading accommodation facilities, the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) should not use internet connectivity as part of the grading criteria.
“When it comes to internet connectivity, we believe that the market can play it out”, Rakorong said adding that the matter will be taken further with relevant authorities.
BOCRA had however said that while most of the hospitality facilities in Botswana are embracing provision of internet as a marketing tool to attract customers, there is still a need to avail information about various bandwidth packages.
The BOCRA report, released in March 2014, was instigated by complaints from various players in the national economy, who said low internet connectivity paints a gloomy picture for economic growth.