KIGALI TURNS INTO A MAGNET FOR GLOBAL HOTEL GROUPS
(Posted 02nd July 2013)
During a recent visit to Kigali it was possible to assess building progress on the new national convention centre and adjoining hotel, the government of Rwanda is putting up in order to attract a growing share of the continental MICE business. The facility is gaining shape and tourism stakeholders expressed cautious optimism that both facilities will be ready by late 2014, though delays have plagued similar projects in Kigali in the past as has been seen on other, similar construction sites.
The 5 star, 300 room and suites luxury convention hotel will be managed by Radisson Blue, a brand of global hospitality group Carlson Rezidor. The group in fact has just released a press announcement that they will also open a Park Inn in Kigali, another one of their brands which include also Regent and Hotel Missoni.
The new Park Inn will feature 161 rooms and suites and will is expected to be graded as a four star hotel. The statement of Carlson Rezidor reads as follows:
‘Carlson Rezidor, one of the ten largest hotel groups worldwide and one of the leading hotel operators on the African continent, announces the Park Inn by Radisson Kigali in Rwanda. The stylish upper midscale property featuring 161 rooms is Carlson Rezidor’s second hotel project in Kigali: The group already develops the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre Kigali that is scheduled to open in Q2 2104. The Park Inn by Radisson will welcome the first guests just a few months later in Q3 2014. “We are delighted to introduce our young and dynamic brand Park Inn by Radisson to Rwanda and to further strengthen our presence in the country. Africa is a key development market for our group, and our African portfolio now comprises 50 hotels with a total of 11,000 rooms in operation and under development across 21 countries”, said Wolfgang M. Neumann, President & CEO of the Rezidor Hotel Group. The site of the Park Inn by Radisson Kigali is centrally located in the up-market Nyarugenge district of the city centre – less than 12km west of the International Airport, Rwanda’s primary point of entry. Besides 161 comfortable and functional guest rooms, the hotel will offer a 225m² all-day dining restaurant, a 80m² lobby bar, a club lounge, an outdoor swimming pool with a 110m² pool bar and terrace, 500m² meeting & conference facilities as well as gym, spa, hair salon and nightclub. Kigali is Rwanda’s most populated city with more than 1 million inhabitants and is also the country’s most important business & convention destination. Tourism, minerals, coffee and tea are Rwanda’s main sources of foreign exchange; and with Rwanda having joined the East African Economic Community, it is aligning its budget, trade, and immigration policies with its regional partners. Joseph Mugisha, Chairman of Hotel Vision Limited, the hotel owning company of the Park Inn by Radisson in Kigali, commented: ‘We are delighted to partner with such an important international hotel company like Carlson Rezidor and their exciting Park Inn by Radisson brand because of its outstanding quality and renowned services. Our companies share a common vision that will make the Park Inn by Radisson in Kigali the hotel of choice in the mid-market category in Kigali’.
Other global giants eyeing Rwanda are Marriott International, which is due to open their 250+ rooms and suites hotels, located near the Kigali Serena Hotel, by around March 2014, as well as Sheraton, a brand of Starwood Hotels, but Hilton too is said to be keenly interested in entering the Rwandan market, as the country continues to make economic inroads with growing tourist arrivals, establishing itself as a premier ICT hub in Africa and has targeted mining among other sectors to stimulate growth.
Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, presently features less than 6.500 rooms across the board, including low budget accommodation, but the top end of the market is thought to be seriously short of the capacity needed to host major continental and global meetings, conventions and conferences, able to house thousands at a go and still have a few rooms to spare. Visit www.rwandatourism.com for generic information about travel to and across the Land of a Thousand Hills or www.RwandAir.com for details of connections from the East African region, South and West Africa, Dubai and Europe to Kigali.