The Rezidor Hotel Group, which operates Radisson Blu and Park Inn, will create 160 jobs in the country as it plans to open its second hotel in Kigali.
The country’s local supply chain, which ranges from coffee roasters to vegetable growers will also benefit as the hotel contracts their services.
The four-star Park Inn, which is operated by Radisson Blu, will open next week. It will serve the mid-level traveller in Rwanda. Radisson Blu has become associated with meetings and conventions, especially given that it is linked to the Kigali Convention Centre.
“Guests need more choices and that is what we are providing with the opening of Park Inn,” Thomas Stene, the general manager of Park Inn Kigali told Rwanda Today.
The hotel is located in Kigali’s upscale Kiyovu neighbourhood and initially it was supposed to be operated by Holiday Inn. It was developed by Rwandan construction entrepreneur Joseph Mugisha.
The new Park Inn facility adds 161 rooms to hotel accommodation in Kigali. It joins a competitive market where besides its sister property the Radisson Blu, other big brands such as the Serena and Marriot are already established.
Park Inn will also expand opportunities for local producers such as Question Coffee and the Akilah Institute of Women. Mr Stene said wherever possible, the Park Inn will buy local produce.
“It is to our benefit to buy local supplies of eggs, fruits, meat and vegetables because we want to support local farmers,” he said.
There has been an increase in investment in Rwanda’s hospitality sector in recent years, which has seen the number of beds rise from just 680 beds in 2003, to an estimated 10,000 beds currently.
Mr Stene, who has been with the Rezidor Group for 25 years, said Rwanda is fast becoming a hub for international conferences especially with the new RwandAir flight routes.
“I think there is a need for more international hotels in Kigali because the Rwanda Development Board is doing a fantastic job of attracting large conventions and the new RwandAir flights to Guangzhou in China, Mumbai in India and London in the United Kingdom will also attract more business,” he said .
More than 30 regional and international conferences including the second edition of the African Hotel Investment Forum and the congress of the Africa Travel Association ATA, are scheduled to take place in Kigali over the next seven months.
The number of conference visitors has grown from 15,441 people in 2013, to 25,932 people in 2015 while 1.3 million tourists visited in 2015 bringing in $318 million.