Turning setbacks into solutions: ’Supra Events’ journey in shaping Rwanda’s hospitality sector

By Esther Muhozi
On 3 February 2024 at 08:14

In 2021, Alphonse Nsengiyumva visited a modern hotel in Kigali for lunch, but what unfolded next became a remarkable story. Hungry and eager, he surveyed the dining area, anticipating a quick meal before resuming his activities. However, the experience didn’t unfold as smoothly as he had hoped.

Upon reaching the hotel, the person in charge greeted him, inquiring about his food preference. Nsengiyumva shared his choice, emphasizing the need for prompt service due to pre-existing plans. To his dismay, more than an hour passed with no sign of his meal. Frustrated, he sought out the attendant, who admitted, "I’m sorry, I forgot; let me see how I can expedite it."

Disheartened, Nsengiyumva left the hotel, the disappointment lingering as he proceeded with his plans. This unfavorable encounter triggered reflections on past instances of subpar service in various establishments, prompting him to scrutinize the service industry further.

Experiencing similar letdowns in subsequent days, he felt compelled to address the issue. Thus, ’Supra Events’ was born, a company aimed at enhancing services in tourism and hospitality. Nsengiyumva expressed his motivation, "After witnessing recurrent service lapses and hearing complaints about the waiting department in Rwanda, it became apparent that there’s a knowledge and training gap."

Concerned about the insufficient delivery of services, he decided to contribute by bolstering the skills of those working in the sector. He explained, "Supra Events’ is geared towards inspection, training, capacity building, and other initiatives to elevate service standards."

Observing the contrast in service provision abroad, Nsengiyumva highlighted the discrepancy. "In Europe, one person can efficiently serve 30 people, whereas in Rwanda, ten workers often struggle to do the same."

Conducting a thorough examination of service delivery in the hospitality sector, ’Supra Events’ identified gaps in knowledge among the workforce. Nsengiyumva emphasized the center’s commitment to training, stating, "We want to bridge the gap by imparting knowledge from experts in the field, fostering professionalism among the youth."

Recognizing the economic significance of the tourism and hospitality sector, Nsengiyumva cited statistics from Rwanda Development (RDB), where the country earned $247 million in the first half of 2023.

Additionally, Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB) reported a $91 million revenue boost in 2023, attributable to international conferences and events hosted by Rwanda.

Nsengiyumva explained that poor services inspired him to establish 'Supra Events'.