By Daniel Sabiiti
Hotels in Rwanda are yet to be measured according to international standards but the country continues to suffer from the lack of domestic schools that are able to train managers and executives in tourism management, as well as in hotel management.
The coming of Vatel Kigali university campus is set to make a difference as the institute will put its focus on skills development in managerial aspects to substantiate the current country’s focus on mere customer care services.
This is expected to bridge capacity gap not only in Rwanda but that of the whole East African Community (EAC) hospitality sector.
Vatel’s degrees are internationally recognized, and this gives its students the possibility to seek opportunities globally. The Ministry of Education accredited Vatel International Business Hotel and Tourism Management to offer undergraduate degrees in International Hotel Management.
The East African hotel industry is certainly undergoing rapid growth. International hotel brands like the Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood, Carlson Rezidor, Kempinski and others are planning to invest in the region.
However, finding the local technical workforce posed a major problem. Many companies found academically qualified candidates locally who lacked the ability to fill the positions that require practical, hands-on skills demanded by the industry.
Nicole Bamukunde, the university representative in Rwanda said that “In order to attract international guests, must not only recruit new operational managers who comply with international standards, but also train these professionals to use these standards.
What is so different with the Vatel education is that besides giving course tourism and hospitality management, after completion of bachelor’s degree students will be market ready to compete for other jobs as managers in sales, food and beverages, accommodation human resource, marketing, events and conference management, product and operations audit among others.
Need for training- Training is needed not just in schools, but also to train hotel employees, starting with their managers, so that they will be able to better support their team members in ramping up their skills.
Already, Vatel Rwanda campus has been is operating some programs using a rented campus block in Kiyovu, in the city of Kigali, but this the campus will start operating in its own facilities mid next months (September).
Vatel Kigali will be the first Business School in International Hotel Management able to provide the appropriate response to Rwanda’s needs. Vatel Kigali is the first School to be launched in Eastern Africa, and the second one after Madagascar,
Vatel’s expansion in Africa will not stop there but establishing its campus in Kigali will be a step towards its expansion in Sub Saharan Africa.
Already countries such as Tanzania and Kenya have shown interest in hosting a Vatel Campus in their country. Renaud Azema is also exploring destinations such as Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
“Wherever this is possible, we want to give students the possibility of studying locally, while taking advantage of an internationally recognized degree and curriculum that complies with French standards (a certified degree registered at the National Directory of Professional Certification (RNCP)) by a French ministerial by-law, and we want this to be cost-effective for our students” said Renaud Azema’s, who oversees the regional campuses.