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Grading the hospitality sector could help double tourism revenues

Rwanda’s hospitality sector will continue rolling out grading exercises to improve customer care services to clients as well as grow tourism revenues increase from $438 million to $800 million by 2024, Rwanda Development Board’s Chief Operating Officer, Emmanuel Hategeka has said.

He was speaking during a hospitality grading ceremony where 57 of 86 assessed hotels and accommodation establishments were graded among the categories of  1 to 5-star facilities. This brought the number of graded hotels to 108 since last year following a similar exercise.

The 5 star graded hotels include  One & Only Nyungwe House, while 4 stars include High Ground Villa and apartments  in Kigali city Kigali; Classic Lodge and Fatima Lodge from Musanze District, Epic Hotel & Suites in Nyagatare District and  Moriah Hill Resort in Karongi district.

Hategeka said that grading the establishments will boost both customer care and revenues for companies and tourism

“Tourism is one of the leading sectors in generating revenues for the country and the revenues are set to double.

Grading hotels and accommodation establishments will help to maintain standards in customer care to tourists and guests since it will serve as a quality assurance measure.

The initiative is part of the implementation of the 2014 tourism law which also provides for licensing, categorizing and grading hotels.” he said.

He also mentioned grading is one of the requirements during public tenders which further serves as an incentive for hotels and tourism establishments to comply.

He said that there is still room for improvement in terms of services, quality and level of skills among staff.

Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the Minister for Local Government stressed the role of private sector in sustainable development.

“The hospitality industry as part of the private sector needs grading so that they keep improving services. Tourism is the fastest growing sector but needs service delivery improvement. We want double digit growth every in terms of tourism revenues and classification of hospitality is part of contributors,” he said.

He urged the service providers in hospitality sector to utilize EAC standards to assure quality services.

Hotel owners speak out

Jacques Le Roux, Manager of One & Only Nyungwe House, which got a 5 stars grading said: “We could not achieve this grade if there was no collaboration. We have opportunities for development. We plan to organize training for our staff by having tours in other cities such Dubai and Cape Town to learn from experience so that we improve service delivery,” he said.

The manager of Greenwich Hotel Ltd that got 2 stars, Jeannette Rugera and also the vice president of Hotels and Bars Association in Rwanda said there has been improvement of services since 2014 based on tourism law requirements.

“We have got a 2 stars grade. However, we are talking to stakeholders so that we put in place mechanisms to have affordable prices. This could help attract more re-current clients than having few clients due to high prices,” she said.

Odette Nyiramongi, the Manager of Kivu Paradise Luxury Resort that was graded 3 star in Rubavu District said: “The grade results from customer care services to clients and facilities they enjoy. ”

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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