BURUNDI RECLAIMS TOP AFRICAN EXHIBITOR HONOURS BEFORE KENYA AND RWANDA
The results for ‘Best African Exhibitor at ITB 2013’ are somewhat surprising for many observers but not for this correspondent, who is a keen observer of the regional tourism scene.
Burundi, like last year, once again claimed the top prize as best exhibitor, hopefully helping this little country in the heart of Africa to promote the tourism attractions better and get more visitors to the country’s national parks.
Second this year was Kenya, clearly on the ascent and keen to eventually capture the top spot, perhaps as early as next year. Magical Kenya brought the largest delegation to the ITB again this year from among the 5 East African Community member countries, united this year under an East African stand set up where all the ‘Big Five’ were able to showcase their individual highlights and specialties to the world.
Third came fancied Rwanda, which had in past years always come out on top before being dislodge by neighbours Burundi but has nevertheless captured the imagination of stand visitors with their tales of gorillas and forest hikes in Nyungwe, about the Congo Nile Trail and the savannah park of Akagera.
Promoting East Africa as one destination with many attractions is now slowly taking root but can only ultimately succeed when a common visitor Visa is finally launched, something which to the disappointment of many tourism stakeholders is still stuck in bureaucratic arguments and squabbles over the distribution of the Visa revenue. Congrats to the winners who can now turn honours into marketing efforts and revenues.