Wednesday, 28 November 2012 08:26

Regulating the tourism sector in Burundi.

A need to reform

 In recent years, Burundi has undertaken major legal and institutional reforms for the consolidation of peace and the implementation of its Strategic Framework for the Fight against Poverty. Tourism has a transversal nature which makes it sensitive to actions taken by other economic and social sectors.  Hence, the need for a parallel reform in tourism sector in Burundi.

Thus, different reforms undertaken  with regard to  the Land Code, the Companies Act, Investment Code,  Commercial Code….,  as well as the review of  tax system and the accession of the country to East African Community could not leave indifferent the legal framework for tourism in Burundi.

The national tourism strategy elaborated in July 2011 described at that time, the tourism legal environment as "an obsolete and partially implemented framework,   with an incomplete scope and outdated provisions"

The framework was summarized in an Act dating from 1955 amended several times between 1955 and 1963 to clarify or to replace certain provisions in order to adapt them to the context. This is the Order 41/291 of 2 September 1955 relating to the operation of hotels, restaurants, guesthouses, pubs.  This Ordinance was the fundamental regulatory framework of tourism in Burundi. Its field application was covering hotels, restaurants, boarding houses and taverns. The Act had been modified over the years by several texts, but had never been repealed.

Burundi has therefore just enacted a new legal framework regulating tourism. It is the decree No. 100/197 of 05/07/2012 regulating tourism in Burundi. The decree governed not only touristic institutions but also different activities related to tourism.

A fresh legal framework

The new law clearly defines the common terminology used in the said field. It raises the institutional framework that supports the regulation of tourism in Burundi, and implementing the tourism national policy. These include the Ministry responsible for tourism within its attribution and the National Commission of Tourism whose mission is to assist the Government in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Tourism National Policy. Resource management for tourism funding is provided by the same committee. The secretariat of the Committee shall be provided by the National Office of Tourism.

In addition, the law clearly defined the different types of tourism establishments, and common provisions applicable to them namely:  registration, classification, licensure and operating safeguards relating thereto. Approval procedures and classification of tourist facilities are organized and implemented by the Ministry having tourism in its duties in accordance with standards adopted by the Republic of Burundi. The law also highlights the training and qualification requirements for personnel in the tourism sector and related professional duties.

Tourism advertisement conditions as well as ethics, health and safety measures are also clearly explained. The law further provides control and inspection of tourism under penalties of certain administrative sanctions. Indeed, any tourist establishment that violates the measures defined by the new decree is subject to the following penalties: warning, notice, fines and closure of the facility, which vary according to the order or severity of the fault.

No doubt, the new law will significantly contribute to improve tourism climate in Burundi, and thus attract more tourists and investors.  It will be interesting to see how the government will market a specific product Burundi to the attention of regional and international markets.

A need to reform

 In recent years, Burundi has undertaken major legal and institutional reforms for the consolidation of peace and the implementation of its Strategic Framework for the Fight against Poverty. Tourism has a transversal nature which makes it sensitive to actions taken by other economic and social sectors.  Hence, the need for a parallel reform in tourism sector in Burundi.

Thus, different reforms undertaken  with regard to  the Land Code, the Companies Act, Investment Code,  Commercial Code….,  as well as the review of  tax system and the accession of the country to East African Community could not leave indifferent the legal framework for tourism in Burundi.

The national tourism strategy elaborated in July 2011 described at that time, the tourism legal environment as "an obsolete and partially implemented framework,   with an incomplete scope and outdated provisions"

The framework was summarized in an Act dating from 1955 amended several times between 1955 and 1963 to clarify or to replace certain provisions in order to adapt them to the context. This is the Order 41/291 of 2 September 1955 relating to the operation of hotels, restaurants, guesthouses, pubs.  This Ordinance was the fundamental regulatory framework of tourism in Burundi. Its field application was covering hotels, restaurants, boarding houses and taverns. The Act had been modified over the years by several texts, but had never been repealed.

Burundi has therefore just enacted a new legal framework regulating tourism. It is the decree No. 100/197 of 05/07/2012 regulating tourism in Burundi. The decree governed not only touristic institutions but also different activities related to tourism.

A fresh legal framework

The new law clearly defines the common terminology used in the said field. It raises the institutional framework that supports the regulation of tourism in Burundi, and implementing the tourism national policy. These include the Ministry responsible for tourism within its attribution and the National Commission of Tourism whose mission is to assist the Government in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Tourism National Policy. Resource management for tourism funding is provided by the same committee. The secretariat of the Committee shall be provided by the National Office of Tourism.

In addition, the law clearly defined the different types of tourism establishments, and common provisions applicable to them namely:  registration, classification, licensure and operating safeguards relating thereto. Approval procedures and classification of tourist facilities are organized and implemented by the Ministry having tourism in its duties in accordance with standards adopted by the Republic of Burundi. The law also highlights the training and qualification requirements for personnel in the tourism sector and related professional duties.

Tourism advertisement conditions as well as ethics, health and safety measures are also clearly explained. The law further provides control and inspection of tourism under penalties of certain administrative sanctions. Indeed, any tourist establishment that violates the measures defined by the new decree is subject to the following penalties: warning, notice, fines and closure of the facility, which vary according to the order or severity of the fault.

No doubt, the new law will significantly contribute to improve tourism climate in Burundi, and thus attract more tourists and investors.  It will be interesting to see how the government will market a specific product Burundi to the attention of regional and international markets.

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