American hotel chain now enters Rwanda market
Posted Sunday, July 8 2012 at 16:13
Kigali is set for a major status boost with the entry of US Marriott Hotel chain next year.
The hotel will be housed in a (Sh5.1 billion) $60 million building currently being constructed by Kigali-based New Century Development Ltd.
New Century Development Ltd was founded by Rwandan entrepreneurs and a group of Chinese investors in 2009, and soon after entered into negotiations with the Americans for the hotel project.
The 250-room hotel is expected to be the biggest in Rwanda.
Marriott International vice-president of sales and marketing Jeff Strachan, while on a visit to inspect the construction of the proposed hotel, told the state-owned The New Times newspaper that they would charge reasonable rates to make the hotel affordable to the locals as well.
“We have been working with the New Century Development Ltd since 2009 with a plan of coming up with a world class hotel. However, we don’t want Rwandans to look at this as a place for foreigners only; that is why we are planning to have subsidised prices to attract the local middle class,” Mr Strachan told The New Times.
Rwanda, which celebrated 50 years of independence and 18 years of revolution last Sunday, is emerging strongly as a preferred destination for foreign investors.
The country has a reputation of being the least corrupt in the East Africa Community region and also enjoys a favourable rating in as far as ease of doing business is concerned.
Marriott Group said in a statement that it decided to expand to Kigali since the Rwandan market was emerging as a services and transport and logistics hub for central African region.
The national carrier, RwandAir, last week launched direct flights to Tanzania’s lakeside regional capital of Mwanza.
Mwanza, RwandaAir’ s 14th destination, is also its third in Tanzania.
“Rwanda, in recent years, has successfully established itself as an international conference destination and its tea, coffee, fruit and flowers have become highly-regarded exports.
Its wealth of wildlife, flora and fauna, especially its gorilla population, are giving rise to its eco-tourist industry,’’ a statement from Marriott Group says.
The Serena and Mantis are the international hotel chains already with operations in Kigali. The latter is associated with the Shamwari Group of Game Reserves and Eco Lodges.
As part of their preparations for entry into the Rwanda market, Mr Strachan told The New Times that the Marriott Group will train local personnel to take charge of the operations.
“In September, we will take out first 15 Rwandan staff for training in Dubai, Doha and Kuwait; they will be the ones to lead our operations.”