(eTN) – Information was received from Kigali overnight that the Rwanda Development Board’s Tourism and Conservation Department is now embarking on phase two of the ongoing grading and classification of hotels, lodges, resorts, and restaurants. Over 60 hotel managers and owners were gathering last week in Kigali, after their establishments had been identified to be part of phase two of the exercise, which is unfolding across the entire East African Community to improve standards and quality of services, to be briefed on the requirements and give them details of how to prepare their businesses for the visit of inspectors.
Rwanda was among the first East African Community member state to embrace the newly-developed guidelines for grading and classification, and a year ago revealed their first ratings in a highly-publicized event, during which the Kigali Serena Hotel received the only 5-star rating for Kigali so far, while the Nyungwe Forest Lodge, owned by Dubai World, was the only one scooping 5-star recognition from among the lodges at the time.
Tourism is Rwanda’s key economic backbone with earnings of over US$250 million in 2011 and ahead by a double-digit margin for 2012, a year during which many other destinations are struggling to maintain the level of arrivals from previous years. It is also thought that the aggressive rollout of RwandAir as the country’s national airline, is to a good part responsible for the successes the country enjoys vis-a-vis becoming a globally-renowned adventure destination, coupling nature, wildlife, and culture as a unique package and attracting more and more visitors to the Land of a Thousand Hills.
The ongoing grading of hotels is going hand in hand with intensified human resource development and skills transfer to personnel working in the hospitality sector and as a result global hotel giants like Marriott will be opening hotels in Rwanda next year.