How Rwanda’s Hospitality Industry is Embracing High End Tourism Strategy - Rwanda Travel News
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How Rwanda’s Hospitality Industry is Embracing High End Tourism Strategy - Rwanda Travel News

It is now not news anymore that Rwanda is heading for a high-end tourism strategy. With the increase of gorilla permits from $750 to $1500 per person and the sprouting of more luxury lodges, it’s very obvious that the future of the country’s tourism is luxury. But now the question is “how are the luxury safari Lodges tapping into the country’s high-end tourism strategy?

On the eve (on 31st August 2017) of the 13th Kwita Izina Ceremony, Investor Graham Ledger of Singita Luxury African Safari Lodges Reserves hosted a groundbreaking Ceremony to unveil plans of constructing the Singita Kwitonda Safari Lodge within Musanze district as a way of sealing an intention of joining a number of renowned International Hotel and Safari Lodge brands.

The 13th Kwita Izina Ceremony that took place on the 1st September 2017 was attended by a long list of notable celebrities (including Graham Ledger, Ms. Veronica Varekova, Dr. Eberhard Fischer, Nollywood actress Patience Ozokwor, Ben Mugisha and Laurent Salvador Lamothe among others) who joined the Rwandans and other International guests at the fascinating Ceremony that is always conducted at the fringe of Volcanoes National Park. Surprisingly, the road heading to the venue of the Kwita Izina Ceremony was revamped and a number of projects were also launched including the luxury Bisate Safari Lodge.

On the day of the Ceremony, Rwanda’s President His Excellency Paul Kagame’s autocade was driven past the famous Town of Musanze to open the new Luxurious Bisate Wilderness Lodge before proceeding to officiate the Kwita Izina Ceremony.

Bisate Safari Lodge is situated in the natural Amphitheatre of an eroded Volcanic and offers tourists with the magical views of the summits of some of the Volcanoes in the Virunga Massif-Mount Mikeno, Karisimbi and Bisoke towering up through the Afro-alpine forests of the nearby Volcanoes National Park. The word Bisate means “Pieces” in Kinyarwanda because it depicts how the Cone was once intact but now worn out by natural erosion. Bisate Lodge undeniably offers high-end accommodation for tourists who desire to track the renowned mountain gorillas as well as the golden monkeys of Volcanoes National Park. This Lodge’s state of art and sophisticated architectural and interior designs were designed by architect Nick Plewman as a replicate of the traditional designs of typical Rwandan buildings, especially the popular King’s Palace in Nyanza. Sprawled on 67 acres of land that was previously farmland, Bisate Lodge takes pride in its 6 opulent villas with 12 lavish guestrooms including 6 twin-bedded villas.

Bisate Lodge joins another new yet equally stunning up market Safari Lodge known as Amakoro Songa Kinigi Lodge. This breathtaking Lodge is situated within Kinigi in the Northern Province of Rwanda overlooking the Sabinyo Volcano and is a natural extension of Songa Africa-a premier luxury tourism company. This high-end nature Resort within the heart of Africa was constructed with the most recent energy efficient technology and is operated in the most sustainable manner while paying attention to the conservation of nature and the neighboring communities.

These new Safari Lodges join the already existing luxury Safari Lodges and Hotels within and around Volcanoes National Park such as Sabinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel and Jack and Hannah Cottages among others. For the luxury accommodation facilities, the cheapest room goes for at least $1000 although these prices vary.

According to Mr. Emmanuel Hategeka, the Chief Operating Officer (COO in charge of tourism promotion) of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the establishment of the high-end safari Lodges is a way of fulfilling Rwanda’s tourism strategy of turning the country into a luxury destination hence earning more revenues. Hategeka highlights that in doing so, Rwanda would cease being a brief stop or just a stopover on any tourist’s itinerary but instead offer unforgettable hospitality experience beyond the renowned mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, chimpanzees, the Big five, birding, cultural and heritage experience.

It should be noted that only 880 mountain gorillas are remaining in the wild but are sheltered within only four National Parks that include Uganda’s Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and DRC’s Virunga National Park but interestingly, more than 300 of these Giant Apes are found within the Volcanoes National Park, hence the reason why Rwanda is the perfect destination for gorilla trekking.

Speaking during the groundbreaking Ceremony of Singita Kwitonda Safari Lodge, Hategeka pointed that this new Safari Lodge is an inclusion to the high-end hospitality strategy for Rwanda. This Lodge was specifically named after Silverback Kwitonda of the Kwitonda family, who passed away on 10th September 2012 at the age of 40 years, hence the name Singita Kwitonda.

According to Graham Ledger, the Managing Director of Grumeti Reserves and proprietor Singita Kwitonda Lodge, the project is expected to cost about $16 million (13, 496, 000,000 RWF or Shs 57,552,000,000) and will be ready for inauguration in August 2019. Found along the Kwitonda trail, Singita Kwitonda Lodge will feature 12 lavish guestrooms including 8 high-end villas and is expected to employ over 70 people.

He further stated that Mountain gorillas are exceptional creatures hence there is need to promote and improve their habitats and other facilities including accommodation that tourists enjoy during gorilla trekking safaris. He was confident that these luxury facilities will bring to Rwanda years of experience in excellence if the services offered are consistent across the chain of their 12 safari lodges and Wilderness Camps within five regions across three African countries (from South Africa, Zimbabwe to Tanzania).

Ms. Clare Akamanzi also pointed that One&Only Resorts, another award winning luxury Resort is ready to enter the Rwandan Hospitality market as a way of sealing Rwanda’s goal of being a high-end tourism destination while at the same time narrowing its market to only the wealthy tourists. One&Only Gorilla’s Nest (set to open in 2018) will have at least 20 sumptuous Villas when it eventually opens. With the resorts joining the country, it makes Rwanda the third African market for the One&Only Resorts after South Africa and Mauritius.

In conclusion, with Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy, a number of luxury accommodation facilities are sprouting to offer comfort to tourists as they explore the country’s tourism attractions.  The new Safari Lodges include One&Only Gorilla’s Nest (under the One&Only Resorts), Singita Kwitonda Safari Lodge, Amakoro Songa Kinigi Lodge and Bisate Wilderness Lodge that join the already existing ones such as Sabinyo Silverback Lodge, Jack and Hannah Cottages Virunga Lodge and Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel among others.

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