Rwanda as a whole has experienced a dramatic increase in number of hotel rooms available countrywide over the past decade, going from just 680 available nationwide in 2003 to a whopping 6,700 this year, according to reports.
This has precipitated a 28% jump on tourism revenues in the country as of September this year, compared to the same time-span last year.
This among other encouraging facts was revealed by the Head of the Tourism and Conservation Department at the Rwanda Development Board, Rica Rwigamba, while meeting with members of the Rwanda Hotels, Restaurants and Bars Association on Wednesday.
The meeting’s main aim was to establish a grading of sorts of hotels and restaurants through the now world-renowned star classification, from three to five stars awarded basing on cleanliness, adherence to international standards, customer care, security and excellence displayed among other factors.
RDB also made no secret of its desire to see more use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in hotels such as internet access being made available in hotels, and the use of Hotel Management software.
An estimated US $ 210 Million has been amassed as of September this year, representing the aforementioned 28% increase, with Rwigamba urging that this figure can be pushed even further up.
It was also noted that while hotels have increased in the country, a number of them are yet to standardize in order to meet regulations and standards of East African Community hotels, which in turn slows down tourism.
Hotel and restaurant owners, lead by association chairman Denys Karera, on their part suggested that government instate a mandatory day-off for delegates and officials coming to Rwanda for international conferences – for which Kigali is increasingly becoming a top destination – for tourism and relaxation as this will help increase the foreign currency in the country as the foreign delegates spend more.
They also appealed to RDB to work in concert with the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) to subsidize internet connection prices and prices of other commodities to promote the use of the former in hotels, which they feel is still too pricey.