Marriott opens first hotel in Rwanda

Marriott International has opened the doors of its first Marriott Hotel in Rwanda, bringing the signature brand’s welcoming service and world-class amenities to sub-Saharan Africa for the first time in its nearly 90-year history.

“Rwanda is going through an economic transformation and we are proud to be a part of it,” said Marriott International president Arne Sorenson.

“Coupled with that transformation is a mutual promise for opportunity — both for Marriott as a hospitality company and for the associates and partners who will help us succeed in this market.”

Highlighting the importance of hospitality’s role in Rwanda, the World Travel & Tourism Council recently published research which argued Rwanda’s travel and tourism industry generated 7.1 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2015.

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The body also predicts this will rise at 4.1 per cent annually through 2025.

Known as the Land of a Thousand Hills, Rwanda is becoming a popular destination for meetings and tourism.

The 254-room Marriott in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, is creating approximately 500 jobs and will be among the country’s biggest and most luxurious properties, further enhancing Kigali’s reputation as a hub for conferences and conventions.

The hotel will offer world-class meeting spaces with modern amenities to cater to the demands of this rapidly growing market.

“I have the privilege of being able to open hotels in one of the most fascinating and fastest-growing parts of the world,” said Kyriakidis.

“But there is something about this project that is particularly fulfilling.

“Every time we open a hotel, we know there is an enormous positive impact on a community.

“But here, in Rwanda, that impact is magnified by the sustainable approach we have taken to both staffing and supplying the hotel.”

Marriott has been working with community-based organisations to help staff the hotel and supply it with locally produced goods, underscoring Rwanda’s goal of building up its core industries including tourism and agriculture.

The hotel, for instance, has partnered with the Akilah Institute for Women to recruit and train Rwandan women for supervisory positions at its Kigali location.

The Akilah Institute is an academy that enables young women from Rwanda and other East African countries to achieve economic independence with market-relevant education and training.

Marriott International has invited nearly 40 Akilah graduates to work and train in Marriott hotels in Africa and the Middle East.

After receiving on-the-job skills and leadership training, the first wave of graduates have returned to Rwanda to join the management team at the Kigali Marriott where they will help welcome guests from the around the world.