Rwanda Will not Tolerate Poor Services in Hotels

Bar attendant at the new Kigali Convention Centre
Bar attendant at the new Kigali Convention Centre

The government of Rwanda has installed inspectors at 84 hotels in Kigali city to ensure high standards and quality services are adhered to during the African Union summit.

These hotels will host 3500 delegations attending the AU summit between July 10-18th. Rwanda wants to avoid scenarios in previous events where visitors complained of poor service and less food.

Four inspectors will be deployed at every hotel hosting delegates until the end of the conference to make sure every visitor is served excellently during their stay.

Francine Havugimana Uwera, Vice chairperson of chamber of tourism in charge of hospitality told KT Press the inspectors include; 2 security officers, a staff from Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and a staff from president’s office.

“We have put in place a mechanism that will allow us to get information from hotels on a daily basis” said ACP Celestin Twahirwa the Spokesperson of police.

Uwera said the inspection team at every hotel “Will check everything including the kitchen and will file a daily report.”

In preparations for this summit, Uwera told KT Press “We put in place a platform where information on the hotels was shared to the invitees. Each of them booked according to what they can afford.”

Hotels’ services and standards were assessed and those that qualified were put together to contribute the 3500 rooms.

All hotels will provide essential services including meals from breakfast to dinner where African cuisine and most importantly Rwandan cuisine have to be featured, “It is a general requirement”.

“We cannot accept that one mistake be generalised to the whole industry; if the inspectors find any mistake at a given hotel, the very hotel will pay the price,” Uwera warned.

She said if a hotel messes up, it will lose an opportunity to receive clients coming for international events in the future.

The consequences

Last month after the World Economic Forum for Africa (WEF) hosted in Rwanda, President Paul Kagame complained about poor hotel services where participants said they did not have enough food.

Barely had he finished his speech, another incident was reported where  Minister of Agriculture and animal sciences, Geraldine Mukeshimana  apologized for poorly organizing the Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA) which took place between June 13-16.

Hundreds of participants said they missed tea break and lunch for two consecutive days.

“I really take the whole responsibility and ownership and apologize,” said the minister adding it puts shame to her otherwise hospitable Rwanda.

Hotels have become more innovative this time to avoid embarrassment. Different forms of entertainment have been put in place to sooth guests.

However, Police spokesperson ACP Twahirwa says that noise pollution will be controlled and business in several parts of the city will continue as usual, to make visitors enjoy the city day and night.

Monique Mukaruriza, the mayor of city of Kigali said, tour operators have also designed a tour of Kigali, “to show visitors the old Kigali and the new Kigali built according to the city master plan.”

The mayor hopes this will give an idea where Rwanda is coming from and where it is heading to.

Transport to meeting venues is a responsibility of the organizer; the hotel will only be responsible of the guest’s life while at their premises.

Back at the hotel, Twahirwa said, they are making sure the properties of guests are safe.

“We discussed the matter with hoteliers. It is not in Rwandan culture to steal from our visitors,” he said.

Twahirwa drew an example of several cases where at the airport and or in hotels, police officers and other staff always returned wallets containing thousands of dollars, electronic gadgets forgotten by guests.

Conference tourism

Rwanda has committed to reap big from its hotel industry under Meetings, Incentives Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE). It includes unconventional methods of generating revenues to boost country economy.

The country has set an ambitious target of generating over US$150m annually from MICE.

Amongst the sectors that will contribute to MICE is hotel industry. Rwanda counted 8000 hotel rooms by March 2015 and was expecting an increase of 20% every year.

Essential facilities that were expected to boost this industry are now operational. They include two five star Radisson Blue Hotel and Marriott Hotel totaling 546 rooms opened this week.

Despite a high demand for more rooms, the growth trend is expected to provide 13,800 rooms by 2017.

According to RDB, average daily expenditure for a tourist on accommodation, food, hanging out and transport is US$300.

It means by 2017, Rwanda would generate roughly US$4m from the 13,800 hotel rooms if booked per day.




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