Best Western Eco Hotel opened its doors two months ago. It is located in the middle of the town of former Kibuye now Karongi. Investors in Karongi prefer to locate their hotel business on the lakeshores of Kivu but Best Western Eco Hotel owner chose to make a difference and put it in the heart of Karongi town.
Apart from restaurants and food stores, Best Western Eco Hotel is the only hotel located in the central town.
The investor who the idea is Nahayo Vincent, the owner and Director General of Nyungwe Chimps Travel Agency (NCTA), also Legal Representative of Rwanda Environmental Awareness Project (REAP).
In an interview with www.sightsofrwanda.com, Mister Nahayo explained why he prefers his hotel in the middle of the town: “Not all people are equal financially speaking, of course it’s good to sleep by the lakeside but I don’t think everyone needs it! I preferred to run my business in the central town to facilitate access to my customers. Before you start a business you need to first of all study your market. I’ll give you an example, you’ve just arrived from Kigali and you need a place where to rest without making extra travel. You know all hotels here are located by the lakeshores. Imagine you arrive in Karongi at night and you’ve not provided for extra transport fares. What will happen then? I guess you’ll definitely need to go to the nearest hotel. That is how the idea crossed my mind and I started my hotel business here in Kibuye town.”
Concerning the name of the hotel, the owner says he chose ‘Best Western Eco Hotel’ based on two main points: the word Western to indicate the location because his business is in Karongi district, which is part of the Western Province. The hotel is also part of a large business he runs in the Province including a campsite in western Rusizi district. The campsite is currently under development at a peninsula in Lake Kivu. Besides, Nahayo Vincent says he’s also finalizing the construction of another hotel in the same district. The businessman tells more about his campsite business:
“Most Rwandans slept in tents in exile as a result of the 1994 genocide and war, so they have a relatively harsh memory about tents, but let’s talk about those who didn’t have that experience. How many years have you slept indoors? In fact try a tent it once and you’ll see the result. We call them tents but those used for camping are actually designed for that particular purpose. They’re fully fledged with sleeping bags and ventilations to let you breathe fresh air from camping site.”
Best Western Eco Hotel in the town of Karongi (former Kibuye)
Nahayo’s campsite project will be extended to Karongi district, where he has already purchased a land at Mpembe. The second part of his Hotel name is Eco. He says this is in line with his passion to promote environment.
“You see, the hotel is in a busy town next to the bus station. You can imagine the smokes from the exhaustion pipes polluting the air. So I’ve envisaged to plant trees that will help provide fresh air around the hotel. Moreover, the rooms are painted with environmentally-friendly paints.”
The shape of the building follows Rwanda’s geographical situation and the location of its parks. Nahayo says this is an add-value component as he points out:
“The building comprises three parts. One facing the South, the second one facing the North and the third one looking East. We have Nyungwe Park in the south, the Volcanoes National Park in the north and the Akagera National Park in the East. Furthermore, the 10 hotel rooms in the southern part of the building bear 10 names of 10 species of primates found in Nyungwe Park.”
On top of Hotel and campsites businesses, Nahayo have plans to start package tour business:
“Package tour or package holiday is not common in Rwanda but people do it without knowing. It consists of transport and accommodation advertised and sold together by a vendor known as a tour operator. Other services may be provided like a rental car, activities or outings during the holiday. Package holidays are organized by a tour operator and sold to a consumer by a travel agent. Some travel agents are employees of tour operators, others are independent.”
Nahayo has extended his business to further innovations where he employs local motorcyclists who attract customers to his hotel (Best Western Eco Hotel) in Karongi. Each motorcyclist who brings one customer earns a 500Rwf airtime, and if they bring up to 10 people per day they get a 5,000Rwf incentive. It’s a very effective way since there are no other means of public transport around the town but taxi motorcycles.
The tariffs at Best Western Eco Hotel are reasonable compared to services which include bedrooms with television and wireless internet for free.