The hospitality sector is set to receive a boost once Vatel, an international tourism institute establishes a campus in the country.
The renowned institution for hotel and tourism management plans to establish its first ever Sub-Saharan Africa campus in Kigali.
In a release, Reynaud Azema, the Director of Vatel, responsible for the Group’s expansion in Africa, said the decision to establish a campus in Kigali was reached after consultations with officials from the Higher Education Council, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and local hotel operators.
“After spending a week in Rwanda, meeting professionals and talking to students, I am certain Vatel will help provide a solution to the needs of the tourism industry,” Azema said.
He said the institution was committed to addressing the needs of the growing tourism industry in the country and the East African region.
“Owing to the growth of the hotel sector in Rwanda and in the region, Vatel is likely to become a centre for tertiary education in the region,” Azema said.
The institution’s establishment comes at a time when Rwanda is working toward transforming the hospitality sector.
Through an initiative dubbed; Meetings Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE), the government targets $150 million in tourism revenue this year, about 16 per cent of the country’s total foreign exchange revenue.
Tourism experts have in the recent past called for improvement of the hospitality sector to enable the country achieve the set targets.
In a recent interview with The New Times, Frank Murangwa, the acting head of the MICE division, said improvement in the quality of services will attract more tourists.
The institution, with over 30 years experience in training hospitality and tourism industry professionals, has 28 campuses across the world including; Paris, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Singapore, Switzerland, Moscow, Montreal, and Mauritius.
Among the unique features of the university is that students are given the opportunity to spend their second year at another Vatel campus for international exposure.
Recent statistics from RDB indicate that the tourism sector continued to grow in the past one year, cementing its position as one of the top foreign exchange earners in the country.
In the year 2014, the sector registered a 9 per cent increase in the number of visitors, from 1 million visitors in 2013 to 1.2 million.
Revenue from the sector grew from $296.4 million to $303 million.