RWANDA TOURISM RAKES IN 281 MILLION US DOLLARS IN 2012
Figures just released by the Rwanda Development Board for the year 2012 show a sustained growth of tourism arrivals and revenues, when it was announced by the agency that their own projected revenues were exceeded considerably with a final bottom line of over 281 million US Dollars. RDB also announced their target for the current year as 317 million US Dollars, which according to early indications is an achievable figure.
Rwanda, aka The Land of a Thousand Hills has in recent years put in strong performances in the tourism sector, and saw arrivals and receipts grow in leaps and bounds, outperforming – in percentage terms – the other East African Community neighbours as a result of a sustained campaign to promote tourism with the full backing of government. An equally ambitious national airline growth strategy has largely contributed to bring in more passengers from Africa but better connectivity through the arrival last year of new carriers like Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines and South African Airways too has supported tourism and trade growth while others like Brussels Airlines – codesharing their four flights a week with RwandAir – and KLM have all added more flights too.
Product diversification was named as the key to this success by regular sources from Kigali, where in past years the launch of trails for birding and hiking outside the protected areas, like the Congo – Nile Trail, have widened the scope for Rwanda’s tourism industry. With the added cultural tourism element now being highlighted too, Rwanda will this coming weekend launch the Pan African Dance Festival 2013 after just hosting a regional art show, the country’s tourism industry is expected to continue being the backbone of Rwanda’s economic performance, besides agriculture, here specifically tea and coffee exports and mining. Mrs. Rica Rwigamba, head of tourism and conservation at the Rwanda Development Board, was quoted in a media release availed to this correspondent overnight as having said: ‘We are working hand-in-hand with the tourism chamber to improve customer service and to solve the skills gap that seems to be a hindrance to better service delivery’, partly in reference to ongoing efforts to improve the skills factor and rate and grade tourism businesses for better client experiences. The top five overseas visitor source countries are the United States, followed by India, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany. Watch this space for regular news updates from The Land of a Thousand Hills.