Months after its dedication ceremony, the Kigali Marriott Hotel will officially be inaugurated today at a ceremony that will see local and international guests celebrate the entry of the world’s largest hotel chain into the Rwandan market.
Marriott International became the largest hotel chain, last Friday, at the conclusion of a long awaited deal that saw them acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts to a tune of $13 billion.
The deal saw Starwood, which is the parent firm of Sheraton Hotels and a host of other brands, elevate Marriott to an umbrella position with over 30 hotel brands, 5,800 properties and 1.1 million rooms in more than 110 countries.
In an e-mail interview, the President and Chief Executive of Marriott International, Arne Sorenson, told The New Times that the hotel chain’s interest in Rwanda was based on the country’s economic transformation, and it’s positioning of information and communication technology.
“The Rwandan government has placed information technology at the heart of the country’s development, and due to the growth of Rwanda’s tourist industry and drive to become a regional hub for conferences and exhibitions, it felt like a natural choice for us,” Sorenson said.
“Rwanda is the first country to head the World Bank’s Doing Business reforms; it is going through an economic transformation and we are proud to be a part of it.”
Sorenson said Marriott International believed that the country had a lot to offer from a business and leisure travel perspective, adding that they were working with a number of Rwandan partners both in government and the private sector to help nurture this growth.
Asked about the hotel’s contribution toward job creation, Sorenson said Kigali Marriott Hotel is creating 500 jobs and has already partnered with Akilah Institute for Women to recruit and train Rwandan women for supervisory positions at the hotel.
“Marriott International has partnered with the Akilah Institute for Women inviting nearly 40 Akilah graduates to work and train in Marriott hotels in Africa and the Middle East. After receiving on-the-job skills and leadership training, the first wave of graduates have returned to Rwanda to join the management team at the Kigali Marriott where they will help welcome guests from around the world,” he said.
The Kigali Marriott Hotel itself has 254 rooms and 10 conference halls.
The just concluded Rwanda Cultural Day was held at Marriott Marquis in San Francisco, California, in the US.