Saturday, November 11, 2006
Source: Xinhua /
News Article

Ugandan president launches five-star hotel to host 2007 Commonwealth summit

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Friday officially opened a five- star hotel in Kampala as part of the efforts to host the 2007 Commonwealth summit slated for next November.

The newly-refurbished Kampala Serena Hotel, which has been redesigned and expanded from a 65-room facility to 152 five-star rooms at a cost of over 30.5 million U.S. dollars, is slated as one of the major venues where the Commonwealth meeting will be held.

It is also reported that Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will stay at the Serena hotel during the summit instead of the State House Entebbe which is being refurbished now.

The Ugandan government has stepped up preparations for the 2007 Commonwealth summit that will see over 10,000 delegates visiting the country in a week.

Museveni described Kampala Serena as a first-class hotel whose surroundings have been tailored to fit the concept that it is part of River Nile, which allegedly originates from Jinja, 80 km east of Kampala.

He said the government will facilitate the Aga Khan Group who owns the hotel to open up other branches all over the country to promote tourism.

The opening takes place nearly two years after the former Nile Hotel was leased from the government for 30 years by Tourism Promotion Services, an arm of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development that operates the famous brand of Serena hotels in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Uganda.

Uganda needs at least 3,000 hotel rooms of international standard and 60 presidential suites to host the dignitaries to attend the summit which is preceded by meetings of Commonwealth foreign ministers, the business, youth and women forums and the leaders of civil organizations.

Currently there are about 800 qualified hotel rooms available in Kampala and neighboring Entebbe. The shortage has fueled a zest of hotel building in the country.

The summit, involving 54 heads of states or government leaders, is held every two years. It has been highly prioritized by the Ugandan government for its boost to the potential investment and tourism sector.

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