JINJA-The Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (UHTTI) in Jinja City is undergoing restructuring to enable it to compete and meet international standards of the tourism sector, Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities minister Tom Butime has said.
Col Tom Butime, while presiding over the 13th graduation ceremony of 216 graduates at the Crested Cranes Hotel-based institute on Friday, said restructuring and validation of staff in the institute has commenced to get adequate qualified personnel who can meet international standards of services in the tourism sector.
Tourism minister Tom Butime shakes hands with a parent as UHTTI Board vice-chairperson Florence Naduk looks on.
“The tourism sector is growing and the board of governors are in the process of validating the staff to get highly qualified and adequate workforce who can qualify for accreditation to international standards of offering hotel and tourism training at UHTTI,” he said.
In 2018, the government invested in refurbishment of the three-star Crested Cranes Hotel to transform the institution standards to the centre of excellence. The Shs24.5b project, Col Butime said, has secured unspecified additional funding toward the construction of modern classrooms, a library and office facilities in the institute.
The hotel refurbishment, funded by the World Bank, International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the UN Development Programme, has been remodeled to have 50 bedrooms.
Uganda Hotel Tourism and Training Institute was established at Fairway Hotel in Kampala in the mid-1980s as a pilot school under ILO and UNDP.
When Fairway Hotel was repossessed by its original owners in 1991, ILO/UNDP pulled out of the project, leaving it entirely to the government, who subsequently moved the institute to Crested Cranes Hotel in Jinja.
Long way to go
Even as Crested Cranes Hotel is looking to regain its magic of the yesteryear with the refurbishment, the institute it holds continues to struggle.
The Acting Principal of UHTTI, Ms Mariam Namutosi, said the institute lacks accommodation facilities, a playground, and lecture rooms.
“To diversify services of the institute and the hotel, we are moving out to establish a laundry and restaurant and putting up a modern coffee shop at the Source of the Nile for which we are negotiating with Jinja City Council for space,” Ms Namutosi said.
She explained that the students are also taught how to cook traditional international foods and local foods as well as foreign languages Kiswahili, French and German being some of the commonly spoken international languages by tourists.
The institute on Friday graduated students in diploma disciplines such as hotel management, tourism management, and pastery and bakery and several others in certificate courses.
Mr Daniel Kazungu, the publicist of the Crested Crane-based institute, says the institution offers hands-on training and that he is sure the graduands have attained the required skill set not only to compete locally but also on the international job market if they got the opportunity.
Minister Butime encouraged the graduands to take advantage of government projects intended for empowering the youth in solving employment challenges.