Monday, 11 August 2008

Bhutan : Starring our hotels

11 August, 2008 - Bhutanese hotels will soon have to compete for points to get their ‘stars’ right as either one, two, three, four or, if lucky, a five star hotel.

The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) is looking to replace the current A, B, and C standards of hotels with the international system of star rating. Under this system there are five broad categories with 276 items and services, that will be looked for in hotels for star ratings.

The five categories are 1. General exterior, location and building rooms 2. Fittings, furniture, equipment 3. Services 4. Leisure facilities 5. Additional in-house facilities (like media room). The higher one’s points, the better the star rating.

A hotel will therefore have to get 50 points for a one star, 90 for a two star, 130 for a three star, 170 for a four star and 250 for a five star.

Guest houses and lodges and apartment hotels will also have a similar system with lesser points required, but only up to 3 stars.

Some items for which points are given are like a steam bath having 6 points or a whirlpool with 3 points. There are however basic requirements like bathrooms or beds, which are a must, and for which no points will be given but the absence of which will mean minus points.

There will also be special concept hotels allowed, which could be like bike hotel, trekking hotel, seminar hotel and health hotel between two and three stars. “For applying for ratings, there will be an interactive online form on TCB, which can be filled and sent online or downloaded and posted by the hotel owne,r who will rate himself and after that the verifying team from TCB will come and verify and, if correct, then the required rating will be given on the spot,” said consultant Michael Raffling.

“If not happy with the decision, then the owner can appeal to the Classification Commission as the apex body, who will examine the case and give a final decision,” he added. This commission will comprise a chairman nominated by TCB, two experts nominated by the Hotel Association of Bhutan and one expert nominated by ABTO.

Rinchen of TCB said, “We hope to be able to introduce this rating system by November 2008.” The main aim of these rating systems will be to set domestic and international standards for our hotels catering to international tourists.

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