HTTI Unveils Plan to Enhance Tourism and Hospitality Skills in Uganda

The Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (HTTI) in Jinja District has launched an extensive plan to equip hoteliers, tourism students, and specialists with the competencies required to excel in the Uganda and East African markets.

This announcement was made by Richard Kawere, the Principal of HTTI, as he presented their plans to the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises (COSASE) on Monday, 8 July 2024. He mentioned that the government is empowering the Hotel and Tourism Training Institute to counter the competition from foreigners who have taken up positions in the industry.

Kawere pointed out the historical deficiency of adequate infrastructure for tourism and hospitality training, stressing that the government is now addressing this gap by constructing a training hotel with a school. “Once this infrastructure is complete and properly staffed, we will be able to lead in skills-based training. We shall retool industry staff to ensure they can compete with incoming professionals,” he added.

Kawere emphasized the importance of learning from expatriates while also creating a roadmap for Ugandans to assume leadership roles in the sector. “Their arrival should not be seen negatively. It is beneficial to import top talent and have our staff learn from them. We should create a roadmap for Ugandans to eventually occupy these roles,” Kawere said.

He also mentioned potential funding models, such as a training levy collected by the government and subsequently allocated to the industry to boost capacity. Hon. Charles Bakkabulindi (NRM, Workers Representative) echoed Kawere’s concerns, stressing the need for quality training to ensure Ugandans can compete regionally.

“Our primary concern is quality training to enable Ugandans to compete with others in this region. Why are we consistently bringing in managers and supervisors from Nairobi from year one to year five? What is it that our people cannot do?” Bakkabulindi wondered. He emphasized the need to address both facilities and motivation, urging the institution not to lose sight of the core goal of attracting tourists through well-trained staff.

Buzaaya County MP, Hon. Martin Muzaale, also expressed optimism about HTTI’s initiatives. “The tourism sector, of course, has been capitalized on by Kenyans. In many of our hotels, Kenyans are managing them,” Muzaale said. He underscored the importance of the quality of training provided by HTTI, stating that it is the only way Ugandans can outperform expatriates.

The institute will also house the Crested Crane Hotel, a three-star hotel currently under construction by ROKO. The construction is funded by the World Bank at a cost of Shs24 billion. HTTI is established under an Act of Parliament, UHTTI Act (2015), with the mandate to undertake training and conduct research in tourism and hospitality to advance skills and knowledge in the industry.