MKU Rwanda to build Rwf2.5bn Mt. Kigali Utalii Hotel
Mount Kenya University Rwanda (MKUR) on 2nd December 2021 laid a foundation stone for the proposed construction of a hotel that is expected to enhance tourism and scale up training in the hospitality sector within the country.
The Mount Kigali Utalii Hotel worth Rwf2.5 billion will, according to the university management, mainly assist students majoring in hospitality and tourism in acquiring practical skills.
Speaking at the groundbreaking event, Prof. Simon N. Gicharu, the chairman of Mount Kenya University board of directors, he said that this was yet another chapter in the history of MKUR, adding that it will enhance learning in hospitality, travel and tourism management in the region.
“The School of Hospitality and Tourism is one of our niche areas and indeed a centre of excellence in the region. If you want professionalism in those areas, you probably want to attract big international events coming from Africa and Europe and Africa that need quality facilities,” said Gicharu.
He added that once the hotel is completed, it will give students important hands-on experience, give those with an ambition to become entrepreneurs a glimpse of what the industry looks like, as well as understanding of what the job market expects of them, once they graduate.
According to the vice chancellor of MKUR, Prof. Edwin Odhuno, the hotel will be of three to four-star standard and will create 200 potential employment opportunities for students in the field.
“Graduates of hospitality coming from MKU will have jobs already and they will not need additional training when they go out. Also, we are already attracting students from the region who are interested in pursuing hospitality training from Rwanda. For example, so far we have students from DRC, Nigeria, even Comoros coming to pursue hospitality training in Rwanda with Mount Kenya University,” said Prof Odhuno.
He added that the decision to build the hotel was made about three years ago and the facility will not focus on profit but to offer practical skills for their students.
According to Odhuno, the university is already in partnerships with many hotels including some of the leading hotels in Rwanda like Marriott and Serana Hotels, where they offer practical training to their students.
Also, once their hotel is complete, they plan to initiate what they call ‘work study’, to help students earn some little money, especially the needy students who are pursuing hospitality, to support themselves, pay their fees and cater for other needs.
Emmanuel Nsabimana, head of department for tourism regulation at Rwanda Development Board (RDB), welcomed the project, saying it will help the university churn out better qualified graduates.
“We do not have universities that have hotels here in Rwanda that can serve practical components for their students. MKUR has brought a unique idea which we are supporting so much and we are hoping that in the future, we’re going to have better qualified graduates for our hotels, to improve services here in Rwanda and in the region as well,” Nsabimana said.
Frank Gisa Mugisha, the director general of the Rwanda Chamber of Tourism at the Private Sector Federation said they have no doubt that MKUR is adding value in the sector as human capital development, which he said was crucial for the country’s development.
“The fact that the university is bringing this excellent infrastructure, adds more value to our sector,” he said.
Ange Uwimana, a senior undergraduate in hospitality management at the university said that to be a great opportunity for all students in the tourism and hospitality management, as it creates more job opportunities, and graduates who are ready to become job creators.
According to MKUR officials, the four-floor hotel will be completed by the end of next year in September, with over 40 rooms and a parking yard.
Meanwhile, the university is still exploring the idea of starting a university clinic which will also help offer hands-on skills to their students in the medical area. On Friday December 10, MKUR will be graduating a cohort of 445 graduates of which over 60 will graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Hospitality Management.
Article courtesy of: https://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/featured-mku-rwanda-build-rwf25bn-hotel