UGANDA, Mbarara | Real Muloodi News | The Ugandan government has acquired a 49% share in the Igongo Cultural Centre and Country Hotel located in Mbarara. The deal was concluded in March.
The Igongo Cultural Centre is situated at Biharwe along the Mbarara-Masaka highway and has become a popular destination for travelers and tourists. The complex provides hotel services, and a section of it houses a museum or cultural center that showcases aspects of the Ankole culture such as cattle keeping, food, housing, and dressing.
Nile Hotel International Ltd, a state agency, will run the government’s stake in the hotel. The agency previously focused on running the Nile Hotel and Conference Center in Kampala.
Nile Hotel International Ltd manager Joseph Barungi revealed that the owners of the Igongo Hotel applied to the government to invest in the facility. The government referred them to the Uganda Development Corporation’s investment arm, NHIL, and the acquisition of the 49% stake followed a due diligence process.
While the price paid for the stake has not officially been disclosed, Barungi said the offer was attractive due to the facility’s uniqueness and well-thought-out concepts. Sources claim the government paid 9 billion Shillings, while the entire facility is valued at about 49 billion Shillings.
“A key reason for acquiring shares in Igongo was because of their museum and eclipse monument, business aspects that make them stand out as an impactful tourism hotel,” Barungi said.
The Igongo Cultural Centre and Country Hotel is known for its serene environment away from the center of central Mbarara. It is located within driving distance of all tourist attractions in the region, including Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national parks.
James Tumusiime, the proprietor of the hotel, also founded Fountain Publishers and played a role in establishing the national newspaper, the New Vision. In a statement on Twitter, the Uganda Development Corporation said it would continue working with Tumusiime in running the facility.
“We work with the private sector and not compete with them or drive them out of business,” the corporation said.
Barungi hinted at further acquisitions in the hotel, accommodation, and tourism sectors, saying, “It’s not definite but we are looking at investment opportunities identified by the Ministry of Tourism and UTB. Future investment will be determined by feasibility study outcomes.”
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