Rwandan Tourism Sector exceeds target
The New Times, Rwanda
By: Dean Karemera
The tourism sector, the country’s top income earner with $317 million (about Rwf227 billion) since 2014 is bullish about achieving its target this year after exceeding last year’s target by $5 million to generate $39 million in revenues and income.
The targets were achieved due to the success of the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) strategy.
In its first year of operations, MICE didn’t achieve its set target of $32 million, managing to post home revenues worth $29 million (about Rwf21 billion), however, the sector that was targeting to make $207 million (about Rwf152 billion) by June 2018 is well ahead of its target.
“We exceeded our target of about $39 million by $5 million last year which brings the overall amount of generated income to $312 million (about Rwf227 billion). This is due to successes in leisure tourism which is highest income generating sector and followed by business tourism is part of the MICE strategy,” said Faustin Karasira, Ag. Head of Tourism department, Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
Karasira continues to say that they have a target of $55 million which will be generated from the various conferences that will be hosted this year. Notable among the conferences is Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), World Economic Forum Africa (WEF) and African Union Summit among others. In a previous interview, Karasira indicated that the number of visitors had increased since 2013.
“Rwanda hosted 19,085 conference visitors in 2014 compared to 15,441 in 2013. This corresponds to an increase of 24 per cent. Last year conference visitors amounted to 25,932, an increase of 36% compare to 2014,” he said.
According to the 2014 tourism report released by RDB, regional visitors (DR Congo and EAC) accounted for almost 1,062,000 visitors to Rwanda in 2014. They increased by 10 per cent compared to around 962,000 recorded in 2013 and they account for 87 per cent of all visitors.
RDB is also working on a “Focus and Dominate” strategy that includes aggressive marketing and product diversification. These include activities such as kayaking and House Boat experiences at Lake Kivu, Gishwati-Mukura which is now a national park and cultural centres in Rulindo and Rebero in Kigali.
Such projects come with an increase in tourist arrivals and conference delegates, so the government has invested heavily in infrastructure projects to facilitate the big numbers.
“There’s a joint investment by the government and private sector through infrastructure development and destination marketing. A number of new luxury hotels will be completed at least by the second quarter. These include Marriot, Nobilis, Sheraton, Zinc Kigali hotel, Radisson by Park inn among other which means that more than 600 rooms will be available.
To further boast the tourism sector and also add to the number of rooms for delegates and visitors, the
Kigali Convention Centre will open in June and host the African Union Summit as its first event. The center is valued at more than $300 million (about Rwf223 billion) and will have a five-star hotel with 292 rooms, a conference hall that can host 2,500 people, several other meeting rooms, as well as an office park.