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Investment opportunities abound in Rwanda's hospitality sector

As Rwanda grows in popularity among tourists, investment opportunities a plenty are opening up in the accommodation facility sector.

The number of tourists visiting Rwanda increased by 54% in 2008, according to the Rwanda Office for Tourism and National Parks (ORTP), and 1.14 million tourists are expected to visit this year

Yet the country suffers from a serious lack of accommodation, especially during peak season, according to a report in the East African Business Week.

It's not only visitors from abroad that struggle to find a place to stay, but also those from neighbouring countries attending conferences or sporting events. The ongoing African Youth Championships (AYC) his a case in point. The East African Business Week reported that by last Monday it was impossible to find a hotel or an apartment to hire in the Kigali surrounds for a few days due to the championship. 

The newspaper reported that the ORTP is actively encouraging private investors to put their money into developing more hotels, apartments, bed and breakfasts and other forms of lodgings - at both the the high and lower ends of the market. This should be augmented by investment in restaurants, coffee shops and other recreational facilities.

The report said: "Popular tourist destinations in the country like Kinigi, Akagera, Nyungwe, Gisenyi, Kibuye and others need to be considered by investors apart from Kigali where most investors are concentrating. For example, Kibuye is a very beautiful area with white sand beaches, small breathtaking islands and fascinating weather making it a favourable investment area but little has been done to make it more appealing to visitors especially in the area of accommodation. The two most habitable lodgings there are owned by the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church and as you can imagine that comes with some limitations given religious considerations.

"The same applies to the town of Kitabi where Nyungwe National Park starts. Kitabi is breathtaking nature at its best but investors haven't yet ventured into making it more attractive. ORTPN has a beautiful lodging there but this is not enough for the adventurous visitor who needs a variety of places where to play and relax after gorilla tracking and other activities at the park."