Good afternoon. It is an absolute pleasure to join you here today.
I begin by recognising our hosts and guests, starting with Luke Bailes, the founder and chairman of the Singita Group. Thank you for your kind words just now, and for your company’s commitment to Rwanda.
I also acknowledge Paul Milton, whose firm led the construction of this beautiful facility, working with a team of Rwandan and international consultants. Congratulations on a job well done.
You know, as said earlier, we were talking about high-end. For a property like this to be built in Rwanda, the conversation was about that being possible. Now I discover that this is higher-end than the end I was talking about. So it has exceeded my expectation. I have a tendency to keep my expectation very high, and this one has gone beyond that.
Finally, let me recognise Mikael Andren, representing the owner, Paul Tudor Jones. This is a very special investor, who is equally committed to African conservation and the development of the hospitality sector on our continent.
Thank you all for being with us.
The tour we just had was really very impressive. Singita is one of the world’s top hotel brands and Rwanda is happy to be associated with the company. And I think you have raised Rwanda’s brand as well. So we thank you.
A good illustration of this is the care taken to make the lodge sustainable, as we wish to make many things in Rwanda. This includes the choice of building materials and construction methods; the reduced energy footprint; and the ongoing efforts to preserve and enhance the surrounding landscape.
Earlier we were discussing about reducing the energy footprint. There was another intention which was prevented by the circumstances around in nature. Because when they were talking about using solar energy, as you know on most days, the kind of cloud cover this place has would not make solar energy that efficient. So I just want people to understand that it was not that solar energy was forgotten, but it was because it would not work very well for us in this area. In fact today I don’t know if our guests brought us sunshine; normally this place is grey and wet. So all that adds to the beauty of this place and our country.
Like Singita, Rwanda is striving to offer visitors the highest levels of service. Quality must be the hallmark of the “Visit Rwanda” experience. This is what we all work toward.
Before I end my remarks, I wanted to say, on behalf of the people of this area — the Governor is here and I think he is aware that Singita and the activities around it, and the visitors, tourists and so on, bring to this province and district a lot of money. So you should earn that money by continuing to provide the comfortable, secure environment that our people are expected to provide. And also urge the people of this area to work hard to actually meet the demand that this lodge has created in terms of what needs to be consumed.
All around, it works very well for everyone, the investor, the visitors, and the citizens of our country. We need to work together to keep adding value to this asset that has been put in our hands by the gracious investors.
We want everyone to be happy and we will do our part. We look forward to working together with Singita and other partners in the years ahead to deliver an unforgettable product built on Rwanda’s unique attractions.
Thank you very much.