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Rwanda rise in African tourism under presidential lead at World Travel Market

Rising as Africa’s unique tourist destination by its gorilla and nature conservation with sustainable tourism, Rwanda has seen fast progress resulting from its strategy to develop travel, tourism and hospitality value chain which had attracted a magnitude of world tourism leaders at the just ended World Travel Market in London.

With the implementation of the strategy to raise the country’s tourism portfolio, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) currently accounts for a total of US$1billion in investment in tourism.

Rwandan President Mr. Paul Kagame had proved of his leadership commitment to foster sustainable tourism development in Rwanda through the World Tourism Award (WTA) conferred to him on the opening of the 2017 World Travel Market (WTM) in London on Monday last week.

The a special 2017 World Tourism Award for Visionary Leadership was given to the Rwandan Head of State as a symbol of recognition of his visionary leadership through a policy of reconciliation, sustainable tourism, wildlife conservation, and economic development attracting major hotel investments, resulting in the remarkable turnaround that had made Rwanda a rising and one of the leading tourist destinations in Africa.

The RDB has put on light, several travel and tourism development achievements including the Kigali Convention Center (KCC) and major five-star hotels in Kigali which were opened for business in 2016, reflecting an investment of more than US$ 300 million.

A further US$800million investment into travel and tourism infrastructure was launched with the purchase of two wide-bodied A330 Airbus jets and the start of construction of the new Bugesera airport this year.

The impact of the KCC and the hotel investments is already visible in the form of high-calibre conventions that have taken place at Kigali and have been booked up to 2018 and the forthcoming years.
Investments in the airline and the airport infrastructure were expected to further boost travel in Rwanda. It is forecast that the number of RwandAir passengers will rise from around 600,000 recorded in 2016 to more than a million in 2018 and 2019. Long-haul flights to Asia and Europe will reshape the passenger structure, making Kigali a flight hub in East and Central Africa to offer additional opportunities for stopovers.

According to RDB, the one billion-dollar injection was targeted to give private investors the opportunity to embark on new tourism products. Along the Kivu Belt, unique sites have been demarcated for tourism developments and that investment opportunities of more than US$150million are ready for immediate development.

The government has also demarcated land at the Twin Lakes, close to Volcanoes National Park, which is also available for immediate investments. While Akagera National Park and Lake Muhazi are set to benefit from new road developments, freeing up the availability of a limited number of sites close to Akagera National Park and at Lake Muhazi.

Recent African tourism records show Rwanda as one of the fast growing tourist destinations in Africa. The country’s tourism’s industry witnessed yet another double digit growth in 2016 over the previous year.

With this in hand, the Rwanda Development Board is considering turning the country into a luxurious tourism destination that would drive up revenues.

Over the past 15 years, Rwanda has experienced a remarkable renaissance, becoming a stable and one of Africa’s most economically buoyant nation.

Supported by its world-famous population of mountain gorillas on the slopes of the spectacular Virunga volcanoes, Rwanda has also become a fantastic and welcoming eco-tourism destination.

Marketing itself as the “Land of a Thousand Hills”, Rwanda’s gorilla population and pristine nature give an experience of the rich diversity of its attractions.

Gorilla trekking safaris, rich cultures of the Rwandese people, scenery and friendly tourist investment environment available in Rwanda have all made this African nation the best and attractive destination for global holidaymakers.

Rwanda’s participation at the World Travel Market (WTM) opened and inspired more opportunities for major tourism stakeholders to visit this country and the other East Africa Community (EAC) destinations.

Striding with the rising number of visitors from across the world, Rwanda is an emerging market for high-end Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events and Exhibitions (MICE). The MICE sub-sector is expected to earn this African destination about US$64 million this year, up from the US$47 million it recorded last year.

Rwanda is coming up the leading nation in East Africa, attracting regional and global conferences in its capital city of Kigali. More than 30 regional and international conferences were scheduled to take place in Kigali before the of the end of this year.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame was awarded with the World Tourism Award at the opening of the World Travel Market 2017 held in London. The award was in recognition of his visionary leadership in sustainable tourism, wildlife conservation and tourism efforts.
President Kagame had shown great and personal commitment in conservation, investment in infrastructure with economic policies which made Rwanda an attractive destination for visitors and investors.

Speaking at the just-ended World Travel Market, Kagame said Rwanda is in working to increase connections to the rest of the world as to put his country in a position as a leading destination in Africa.

“We are also finding ways to multiply Rwanda’s connections with the rest of the world which is what this award represents,” he said.

The process of opening up the country, he said, is also replicated across Africa. “This is a story that is being repeated across the continent as Africans increasingly take charge of our future,” he added.

The President also said sustainable tourism efforts have involved a large section of Rwandans who protect the environment as well as invest in infrastructure needed to grow the tourism sector.

“We have been working hard to protect our natural environment while building the infrastructure for our visitors and citizens,” he noted.

Other approaches that are used for shared prosperity include a revenue sharing scheme whereby communities living around Rwanda’s national parks receive a percentage of the tourism receipts.

“These good results have been possible because Rwandans have made a mindset shift from dependence to dignity and self-reliance. This is why, for example, former poachers are today the most dedicated protectors of wildlife,” Kagame said in London. src :eturbonews.com

The Express News

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