And the Best African Exhibitor at ITB2015 was … RWANDA


(Posted 10th March 2015)

Rwanda’s participants on ITB2015 returned home once again holding up the trophy as ‘Best African Exhibitors’ to which this year they also added a second trophy in the list of the top global exhibitors.

The honour does however not come as a surprise as Rwanda only reclaimed her own after her unbroken run of top places for Africa were taken by Burundi, a country which however failed to exhibit this year, in the process risking to lose all gains made in the global market place.

Apart from the Rwanda Development Board’s team were key industry stakeholders present in Berlin, all well prepared and ready to do business, which did not go unnoticed by the judges of the ‘Best Exhibitor’competition. Also from the public sector was the National Institute of Museums attending the world’s largest tourism trade and consumer show, which this year attracted some 186 countries and over 200.000 visitors. From among the private sector was Thousand Hill Expeditions hard at work to showcase Rwanda’s many attractions, which go way beyond just gorilla tourism, and others like Nyungwe Forest Lodge too were in Berlin.

In favour of Rwanda increasing her visitor numbers is the now one year old common tourist Visa which allows multi country visits between Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, thereby making tours into Rwanda easier to sell either as add on vacations or else, using the Land of a Thousand Hills as the springboard from where to explore Uganda or Kenya before flying back home.

Visa free expatriate travel from neighbouring Uganda and Kenya, which was only recently introduced, will no doubt also play a role in bringing more visitors to Rwanda, where some 1.2 million arrivals were recorded in 2014, earning the country over 303 million US Dollars in the process, both record figures again.

Rwanda presently offers visitors the option to see three national parks, the acclaimed Parc de Volcanoes where the prized mountain gorillas can be tracked, but also the rare Golden Monkeys, the Akagera National Park, a savannah ecosystem in the east of the country near the borders with Uganda and Tanzania and of course the almost mystical Nyungwe Forest National Park, a 1.000 square kilometer full preserved montane rainforest. It was here that RDB’s Tourism and Conservation Department invested heavily in recent years to open up 8 trails, some very short and others multi day hikes across the entire forest. Non protected area attractions are the Congo Nile Trail along the shores of Lake Kivu, extending some 224 kilometres from Kamembe to Gisenyi. This trail is open for hikes, mountain bikes but can also be done by 4×4 vehicles and even by boat, or a combination of it all.

Several ancient royal sites have been restored across the country with the King’s Palace in Nyanza arguably being the greatest magnet for visitors keen to learn about Rwanda’s monarchial past and more recently were caves opened up and made safe for visitors near the central Rwandan town of Musanze, which is also the base for gorilla tracking. Rwanda can be reached from across Africa by RwandAir, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian while from further abroad do Brussels Airlines, KLM / Air France, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and of late even Fly Dubai operate either daily or multiple weekly flights.

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