The Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (UHTTI) will temporarily relocate to YMCA Jinja to pave way for the construction of a shs20 billion modern tourism institute.
The move is part of efforts to transform the Jinja-based Institute into a Centre of Excellence for hospitality and tourism training.
The construction of the ultra-modern school is part of Phase II of a World Bank funded project that began with the construction of a magnificent four-star hotel that according to authorities will be completed in December.
“The second phase of the project, ladies and gentlemen, involves the construction of a facility that will house classrooms, a computer laboratory, library, students multi-purpose hall, students’ hostels, language labs, offices as well as sports facilities, among others,” the Institute Principal Miriam Namutosi said.
Namutosi was addressing a press conference held at the institute.
“The Institute will have to shift to YMCA for a period of two years as construction of a new Institute takes effect. We have already procured YMCA through a clear and transparent process. We have already done the mapping and efforts are underway to remodel YMCA to suit our desires,” she said.
Namutosi added that the institute is in the process of hiring a firm to facilitate the transfer to YMCA before the students report for the semester on August 12, 2023.
She said that due to the magnitude of the construction works, the old Crested Crane Hotel, Demo kitchen and the registry will be broken down.
“We are well aware of the historical significance of the old hotel and we would have so much loved to preserve it but the contractor needs the place to do the work. We are, therefore, obliged to sum up whatever we are doing and give the contractor the space before the end of this month to allow construction to start,” she said.
According to Namutosi, the institute needs the modern infrastructure to be able to transit to a Centre of Excellence.
She also intimated that studies carried out by Arch Design, the supervisors of the first phase of the project, found that the hotel that was constructed by the colonialists in 1954 had weakened and couldn’t be preserved for long.
Namutosi said the hotel will close on July, 31, 2023 t to allow to allow staff enough time to pack and shift to YMCA.
The institute publicist Daniel Kazungu said the construction of modern infrastructure will help to fast-track the institute’s goal of becoming the centre of excellence for hospitality and tourism training.
“You cannot eat your bread and at the same time have it. So we are painfully sacrificing the old hotel in exchange for modern infrastructure that will lead us to a Centre of Excellence that we are aspiring to be,” Kazungu said.
The Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute started in mid 1980s after a feasibility study.
The institute was established at Fairway Hotel in Kampala in 1989 as a pilot school under ILO/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 of Uganda, who subsequently moved the institute to Crested Crane Hotel in Jinja in 1994.
In 2015, the Institute was mandated by an Act of Parliament, UHTTI Act 2015, to train manpower for the hospitality and tourism industry as well as carry out research into the sector.