Rwanda: RDB Forecasts More Tourist Dollars to Flow in
Rwanda Development Board (RDB) expects tourism revenues to almost double to $440 million by next year from $282 million fetched in 2012.
Rica Rwigamba, the head of tourism and conservation at RDB told The Rwanda Focus in an interview recently that tourism revenue targets had been revised upwards in the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II).
EDPRS is Rwanda Government's blueprint that defines the country's medium-term economic development strategy in order to put Rwanda on a higher growth trajectory to ensure that it achieves middle-income status by 2020.
"We are reviewing our targets--initially we had a 15% revenue [growth] target per year. With the new EDPRS we are forecasting an increase of 25% year-on-year," Rwigamba said.
"To attain the target; infrastructure has to be put in place to accommodate the tourists and it has to be well spread across the country; not concentrating in Kigali only."
In the first three months of this year--from January through March-"We registered an increase of 1% in total revenues and $71.5 million compared to $70.5 million registered the same period a year earlier," she said.
She said regional visitors contributed to the growth in revenues with 290,000 visitors registered in the first quarter of this year compared to 242,000 visitors same period a year earlier.
"This is a small increase and which was much affected by what was happening in the region, especially Kenyan elections--and the first three months was not the best in the region. We are lucky we didn't register a decline," she said.
Rwigamba said the board is planning to put more efforts in the high season (quarter two) so that as to catch-up on the growth.
She said that the country targets $317 million of tourism earnings this year, compared to $282 million fetched in the previous year.