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Home arrow Rwanda Accommodation Investment Ops

Rwanda Accommodation Investment Ops

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Housing construction for tourist in Rwanda is like gold mining
Contributed by CAROLINE DUSABE
Saturday, 07 February 2009

Rwanda is fast becoming the next best destination to visit according to a poll carried out by Lonely Planet, an
international tour company.
Lonely Planet voted Rwanda amongst the top 10 destinations to visit in year 2009.
The government working through the Ministry of Tourism and the Rwanda Office for Tourism and National Parks (ORTP)
is determined to aggressively pursue this end by challenging private investors to consider investing in accommodation
facilities for tourists and other visitors to Rwanda if the dream of attracting more visitors and keeping them for longer
periods is to be realised.
Tourists visiting Rwanda have been impressed by its beauty of breathtaking hills, endearing white sand beaches in
Gisenyi and Kibuye, the arresting flora and fauna in Nyungwe and Akagera National Parks and other attractions. They
have been captivated especially by gorilla tourism popularised by the movie "Gorillas in the Mist" based on the story of
Diane Fossey.
However, tourists have been complaining about the scarcity of accommodation facilities during the peak season. Senator
Bill Frist who visited Rwanda last year said in a blog: "Unfortunately there is still dearth of lodges." Traditional tourists are
not the only ones who use and need accommodation facilities. There are people who come to Rwanda for workshops,
conferences and short term jobs.
Multinatinational companies like Ericsson are continually working on contracts that require them to hire apartments for
weeks for their employees. This kind of users doesn't need the normal housing apartments that require commitment for
months but need ones where a visitor can pay per night. ORTPN hopes not only to increase the number of visitors to
Rwanda but also the number of days they stay.
The ongoing African Youth Championships (AYC) has also revealed this gap in the economy of Rwanda. By last Monday
it was impossible to find a hotel or an apartment to hire for a few days due to the championship. Visitors outside the
sports industry or those who failed to book early had to cancel their plans due to scarcity of accommodation facilities.
Hotels like the Kigali Serena, Novotel Umubano, La Palisee were all booked and that also applied to apartments like Golf
Course, Royal Villas in Nyarutarama and others. It was impossible to get a place to rent for a few days no matter the
amount of money one had.
This means that investors need to consider investing in more hotels, furnished apartments to let, bed and breakfasts and
other forms of lodgings that meet world class standards. There is, of course, need to cater for both the high end and low
end user. This should be argumented by investment in restaurants, coffee shops and other recreational facilities in and
out of the city.
Popular tourist destinations in the country like Kinigi, Akagera, Nyungwe, Gisenyi, Kibuye and others need to be
considered by investors apart from Kigali where most investors are concentrating. For example, Kibuye is a very beautiful
area with white sand beaches, small breathtaking islands and fascinating weather making it a favourable investment area
but little has been done to make it more appealing to visitors especially in the area of accommodation. The two most
habitable lodgings there are owned by the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church and as you can imagine that comes
with some limitations given religious considerations.
During last year's "Irushanwa, rally of a thousand hills," a regional rally championship people had to go as far as
Ruhengeri to look for accommodation because there wasn't enough in Kibuye where the rally was taking place. The
same applies to the town of Kitabi where Nyungwe National Park starts. Kitabi is breathtaking nature at its best but
investors haven't yet ventured into making it more attractive.
ORTPN has a beautiful lodging there but this is not enough for the adventurous visitor who needs a variety of places
where to play and relax after gorilla tracking and other activities at the park.
The number of tourists visiting Rwanda increased by 54% in 2008 and ORTPN is confident 2009 will be even better.
Rwanda is expected to have more than 1.14million tourists this year.
East African Business Week
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