Kigali developers opt for deals with branded hotels

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Rwanda real estate investors are landing lucrative deals with international hotel brands as the hospitality sector shows signs of better returns.

The latest deal to be signed was between Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) — the owners of Akagera Game Lodge — and Mantis Collection, a South African hotel chain, to take over management of the property located in the heart of Akagera National Park.

This comes weeks after owners of Ubumwe Grande Hotel signed a management contract with Hilton Hotels, which will enable the $40 million facility to operate under the Hilton Doubletree brand.

“We are glad to work with Mantis Group on this ambitious and strategic plan for Akagera Game Lodge. This is an important step in demonstrating the government of Rwanda’s expansion plan for the tourism industry,” said Belize Akaliza, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) chief tourism officer.

With its location in the middle of Akagera National Park, the hotel is in a strategic location, and it is expected to tap into Mantis’ capacity to manage and and market the facilities.

Mantis will is expected mainstream the hotel into its African brands, which are managed and marketed globally.

The hotel operates all year round and boasts a total of 64 rooms and other amenities. It boasts of family plus executive suites and cottages.

Last year, Kempinski parted ways with Hotel Des Mille Collines, two years after they had signed a management contract. Mille Collines said the contract was untenable, considering the amount of money demanded by Kempinski.

Hospitality experts say that the fact that Rwanda made a choice to prioritise high-end tourism and promotion of MICE as a strategy, it is a matter of time before local hotels sign up with global brands.

East and West African regions are reported to have the highest number of unbranded hotels, which is largely attributed to inability to attract interests from international brands.

Several global and regional brands such as Marriott, Golden Tulip, One and Only and Serena Hotels are already present in Rwanda.

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