Intercontinental staff to stay – Serena boss
By IGNATIUS SSUUNA
Monday, 13 November 2006
KIGALI: The current staff of Intercontinental Hotel will not be laid off when the Serena Hotel group takes over the management of the plush hotel early next year. This was revealed by the Managing Director, Serena Hotels, Mr Mahmud Jan Mohamed.
The assurance was made on Saturday, November 11, during an exclusive interview with The New Times at Intercontinental Hotel, has allayed fears of uncertainty that had gripped the hotel workers.
“Tell the Intercontinetial workers that Serena is not bringing a big broom to sweep the hotel workers. Our idea is to work together,” Mahmud said, while speaking about the future plans Serena Group has for the Intercontinental Hotel in Rwanda.
Mahmud (pictured), who was in Kigali with Amyn Aga Khan, a young brother to His Highness the Aga Khan, said Rwanda will render first world hotel services and accommodation rates will be fairer, affordable by the nationals. The two were in Kigali inspecting the Intercontinental, a hotel which, together with the Kivu Sun Hotel, is to be managed by the Serena Group under a thirty-year renewable lease. The jovial Mahmud also revealed that the final concession agreement between the government and Serena group is set for January 1, 2007. “We shall work for development rather than purely targeting financial goals. Our record in Kenya and Kampala is good,” he said.
Mahmud, who is the head of tourism said Serena had identified other priorities areas like the tourism sector in Rwanda. The decision to lease the facilities (Kigali Hotel Intercontinental and Kivu Sun) to the renowned Serena Group of Hotels was unanimously endorsed during an October 25, Cabinet Meeting, after observing the preliminary terms agreed upon between the negotiator, Prime Holdings and Serena Group of Hotels, were convincing.
The Serena Group is owned and operated by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED).
“We are expecting our lawyers to go through the terms of the contract before the final agreement is signed in January next year,” Mahmud said.
In the agreement, the contractor has among other undertakings, agreed to invest in refurbishment and expansion of the properties, with an additional 50 rooms at the Hotel Intercontinental, bringing the total number of rooms to 154.