With ongoing vaccination efforts in Rwanda and across the world, there is optimism for the situation to normalize.
Before 2020, Rubavu district was considered Rwanda’s tourism and entertainment hub where people from different age brackets would turn up over the weekend for leisure on the shores of Lake Kivu, hydrothermal spring in Nyamyumba among other sceneries.
As the entertainment activities are now put to halt, the area is currently abuzz with whispering birds, the vroom of lawnmowers and water waves.
However, the situation did not discourage investors with optimism that COVID-19 will once be defeated to resume activities without disruptions.
It is against this backdrop that some investors are building hotels among other recreational facilities at the shores of Lake Kivu expected to give boost to tourism activities in Rubavu district once completed.
Some of hospitality establishments under construction in Rubavu town include a three storey building, nearby Kivu Serena Hotel and Rubavu district offices.
The name of the facility has not yet been disclosed but IGIHE has learnt from credible sources that the hotel nearing completion belongs to the family of Pastor Bizimungu, the former President of Rwanda.
Bizimungu led Rwanda from July 1994 until he resigned in 2000. Following his release from jail in 2007, never appeared in the political sphere but dedicated much of his time on businesses.
The project’s model shows that the building belongs to Séraphine Utamuliza, the wife of Pastor Bizimungu but the latter is said the be the focal person following up the project.
Construction activities began in 2018 while the first phase is expected to be completed in March 2022.
IGIHE has learnt that the latter will be among luxurious hospitality establishments in Rubavu district with 80 rooms becoming the first with such capacity in the town.
Located in approximately 200 meters from Lake Kivu shores, the hotel will also have a spacious multipurpose hall and a rooftop swimming pool.
It is said that the hotel’s completion stalled due to COVID-19 related restrictions that occasioned the delay in supply of some construction materials. If everything goes well, the two phases are to be completed this year.
The Mayor of Rubavu district, Ildephonse Kambogo has told IGIHE that such infrastructures developed at the shores of Lake Kivu are meant to lure more tourists to visit the area.
“There are different hotels under construction. We are lucky that Rubavu is a district with high agricultural yields and favorite touristic destination for neighbors and other foreigners. It is especially evidenced over the weekend where people come to the lake’s shores for relaxation,” he said.
Tourism is a main contributor to Rwanda’s economy.
The year 2019 was the best ever for Rwanda’s tourism sector with US$500 million in revenues. In the same year, visitors increased to 1.6 million while tourism contributed 3% to Rwanda’s GDP and created many more jobs.
As COVID-19 emerged in 2020, the tourism was among most hit hard sectors where revenues dropped to about US$121 million while revenues from MICE shrank to US$4 million. However, the year 2021 gives optimism for the situation to return to normal.
From January until November 2021, Rwanda earned US$134 million from tourism, translating into 19% growth compared to last year.
In November 2021, arrivals at the airport also increased by 36% in 2021 compared to last year. MICE also increased by 50% this year.
Restaurants and hotels have not been left behind economic recovery where they also registered 62% and 32% in economic growth respectively.