Kigali Serena Hotel has said that its room occupancy will rise by 13 percentage points from 65 percent, last year, to 78 percent, a clear sign of a strong recovery of the hospitality industry that registered a slow growth last year.
Although latest statistics from Rwanda Development Board (RDB) show that the country’s tourism sector grew by 14 percent in 2010, the Hotel’s Country Manager, Charles Muia,
told Business Times that, half of last year was very quiet because of the global financial slump that forced travellers and tourists to cut back their spending.
“This affected the industry in most African countries,” he said.
The tourism industry in the country is growing at a fast rate and the demand for hotel rooms far outstrips supply. Rwanda needs about 6,000 hotel rooms by 2012 to accommodate the increasing number of tourists.
Kigali Serena Hotel and Lake Kivu Serena have 148 and 66 rooms, respectively.
Kigali Serena is also under going a refurbishment phase, where the interior furnishings of the existing rooms will be upgraded to match the standards of five star hotels.
The hotel says that the project will cost $8 million (about Rwf4.7 billion) and that it will be completed by end June 2011.
Despite the huge deficit, Muia said that, with new hotels coming up, the challenges will be addressed in the near future.
During the recent RDB’s Business Excellence Awards ceremony, Serena Hotel scooped two awards; the best in the hospitality sector, and 2nd runners-up for investor of the year.
Management attributed the achievement to the hotel’s ability to invest in human capacity and infrastructure.