President Paul Kagame met with Arne Sorenson, president and chief executive of Marriott International, at Village Urugwiro in Kigali, yesterday.
Sorenson was in the country to officiate at the grand opening of Marriott Kigali, the first Marriott Hotel to open in sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking to the media after his meeting with the President, Sorenson said the attractiveness of Rwanda’s hotel and service sector persuaded them to open the facility in the country.
“We see Rwanda as a very promising market. The economy of Rwanda, obviously, has been a steady performer each year—you might have some challenges but the growth has been stronger,” Sorenson said, adding that Marriott International would like to grow with Rwanda.
He said the possible next stage of investments might be growth in the 3-stars (hotel) base with some brands like Protea and Sheraton to tap into the opportunities within Kigali as well as other provinces.
“The visibility of Rwanda around the world continues to become greater and greater, and beyond economic growth we also see growth in tourism,” he added.
Francis Gatare, chief executive of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said “the introduction of Marriott Hotel into the Rwanda market is something we are proud of because this is the biggest hotel brand in the world. Having them join our market is a boost to the country’s tourism and hospitality sector.”
Rwanda is currently hosting the Africa Hotel Investment Forum, the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers and management companies.
RDB has also announced investment opportunities in Kivu Belt. Among the underlined key investment opportunities present include hotsprings eco-tourism resort on Rubavu Peninsula, an entertainment and leisure complex in Rubavu, a five-star golf resort and residential villas, an ecolodge on Gihaya Island, a premium boutique hotel and tourism centre in Rusizi and the completion of a five-star conference and leisure hotel in Rusizi District.
The respective projects range from $50 million to $152 million.
The opening of the 5-star 254-room facility comes a little over a week following Marriott International acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
The transaction positioned Marriott International as the world’s largest hotel company, operating in over 110 countries.