By PIUS RUGONZIBWA, 19th June 2010 DAILY NEWS AT last the government has started classification of hotels and restaurants with the latest results showing that only 66 hotels out 99 classified in Dar es Salam and Coastal Regions passed the criteria and qualified in the categories of class five, four, three, two stars and one. The Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Ms Shamsa Mwangunga said in Dar es Salaam on Saturday that the classification exercises was conducted involving various experts from the public and the private sectors as well as experts from Uganda and Kenya. "The aim of putting these classes is to make sure the hotels and restaurants provide services of the same quality as per standards set in the whole East African Countries as passed by ministries of tourism in 2006," she said. To implement the EAC Ministers' directives, the Minister said Tanzania decided to implement a pilot project in 2007 in Arusha and Manyara Regions and thereafter the first full implementation that will later cover the whole country. The qualified hotels include the Kilimanjaro Hotel Kempinski, Movenpick Royal Palm Hotel and Sea Cliff Hotel, which emerged winners in the five-star class category. In the four-star class category nominees were Golden Tulip Hotel, New Africa Hotel and Casino, Paradise City Hotel, Protea Hotel and Serviced Apartments, Southern Sun Dar es Salaam, Saadani Safari Lodge, White Sand Hotel, Giraffe Ocean View, Hotel Harbour View Apartments and Kinasi Mafia Hotel. Other 24 hotels and restaurants qualified as three-star lodges, 17 as two-star and ten as one-star. According to the Minister, a team of assessors visited and inspected about 203 hotels that were later screened according to set criteria, which involved among others, the location, site and environment, autonomy of buildings, designs and architectural features, capacity to accommodate guests and many others. About 252m/- was spent to make the exercise possible, the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources contributing 85m/- and the Ministry of Trade, Industries and Marketing through the Tanzania Trade Integration Project contributed 176m/- to facilitate the exercise. Apart from the hotel classification, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed and exchanged between the Tourism Confederation of Tanzania (TCT) on how best the hotels would offer services according to their new classification for customers to realize value for money philosophy. Apart from others the MOU addresses the establishment of efficient and effective framework for addressing issues affecting the tourism sector and building a foundation for trust and raising the industry's confidence to explore best practices, emerging trends and new ideas. The Minister also announced the creation of the referral body that would ensure there is a fair play and the parties comply with the requirements as stipulated in the MoU. The Chairman of the Tourism Confederation of Tanzania Mr Gaudence Temu pledged for the private sector to play a vital role in ensuring the thriving of the tourism sector and urged the classified hotels to abide by the best practices and provision of the quality services. "Hotels must maintain and improve quality of services, otherwise a time will come when they will be disqualified due to provision of unsatisfactory services," he said.