Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is looking into developing and standardising Airbnb, an international marketplace for rental accommodation, after identifying it as a developing sub-sector in the local hospitality industry.
Airbnb is a technological innovation that is fast changing the traditional way of seeking accommodation while travelling to new destinations by offering options of booking homes of locals.
With its headquarters in California, US, the service so far has a presence in about 190 countries across the world, including Rwanda.
The service, which can be found online at www.airbnb.com, makes it possible for people to rent out extra space in their homes to visitors and tourists.
Belise Kariza, the chief tourism officer at RDB, said they have been in consultations with the alternative accommodation service provider in order to develop it in the country.
She said officials behind the service had recently visited Rwanda to engage stakeholders and they would be working closely with tourism players to develop the platform.
The platform has so far caught the attention of Rwandan home owners with a number of them putting up their houses and apartments for rent on the platform.
So far, Kariza said, more than 100 Rwandan homes are part of the service that RDB looks to develop in coming years.
“It is an alternative accommodation that we are looking into, we know that in Rwanda we have over 100 households putting up their homes for rent on Airbnb. It is an emerging niche that still needs developing,” she said.
Kariza was speaking at a news conference on tAfrica Hotel Investment Forum, which opened in Kigali yesterday.
Since its debut on the local scene, last year, there have been concerns that the lack of regulation and standardisation could undo the efforts and investment in the local hospitality sector.
To support the development of the hospitality sector and investments therein, the Government is actively developing the aviation industry to ensure that it serves the needs of the industry.
Pascal Nzaramba, deputy director-general of the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, said they are working to bring in more airlines to operate in the country, which is expected make the country more accessible to tourists and the business community.
He said, so far, other than RwandAir, they were working with five other airlines, SN Brussels, Kenya Airways, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and Ethiopian airlines.
Nzaramba added that they were in the process of engaging other airlines to start operating in the country which would make Rwanda accessible to more visitors and tourists.
The aviation authority’s efforts come in as Rwanda continues to see a sharp rise in the number of tourists visiting the country each year.
Last year, Rwanda received about 1.2 million tourists with projections showing that the number could hit the 1.3 million mark this year and 1.39 million next year.