40 hospitality establishments have been awarded between 1 (one) to 5 (five) stars by RDB (Rwanda Development Board) during the 2019 Hospitality Grading ceremony.
The 1-5 star grading system helps to differentiate the quality of services that establishments render to their clientele.
The criteria used to grade the establishments range from their location, site and environment; architectural design and features, capacity, reception area, information services, hours of service, decor, amenities and accessories and regulation of temperature among others as per the ‘East African Criteria for Standardization of Hotels, Restaurants and other Tourist Accommodation Facilities’.
It (the criteria) also stipulates the standards that should be met for any accommodation establishment to be one, two, three, four or five star and are mandatory for any prospective property developer in the accommodation sector in all EAC member states.
Bisate Lodge in Volcanoes National Park was awarded a five-star rating while The Retreat Boutique Hotel and Residence Prima 2000, all located in the City of Kigali were awarded the four star.
The 11 establishments that got a three-star rating include; Executive Suites Kigali, Highlands Apartment Gacuriro, Villa Asimba, Landmark Suites, Park View Courts Ltd, Gorilla Solutions Lodge Ltd, Light House Hotel, Heaven Boutique Hotel, Emeraude Kivu Resort and Quiet Haven Hotel.
Other 16 establishments got a two-star rating with 11 getting one-star.
Speaking during the ceremony, Pudence Rubingisa, the City of Kigali Mayor who also presided over the awards as Guest of honour said:
“The establishment and compliance with these standards is very important for our country as a tourist destination in order to sustain a competitive advantage and attract more tourists. Quality service delivery is a key driver of economic growth as stated in the National Strategy for Transformation which aims to increase tourism revenues to over US$ 800 million by 2024.”
On his part, Zephanie Niyonkuru, the RDB Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer said that, “The grading and classification of hotels helps to inform customers on how to recognize quality, differentiate all levels of facilities and services and offers greater transparency.”
“The accommodation classification practice enhances the EAC’s competitive edge as a single tourism destination and helps to have a developed industry. And there is a lot to be happy about. For example, in the last five years, a number of renowned hotel brands have started their operations in Rwanda,” he added.
Mr. Niyonkuru said that by 2014, Rwanda only had one 5-Star hotel. But as of today, the country has 5 and are expecting the number to increase. He also said that the revenue for MICE had increased from US$33 million in 2014 to US$ 55 million in 2018.