The new head of department for Tourism and Conservation at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Ambassador Yamina Kayitani, earlier this week formally presented the new tourism strategy which was developed over the past months. A new focus will be given to attracting MICE business as the national convention center is progressing towards an opening by late this or early next year.
Ambassador Kayitani also revealed the 2013 data on tourism earnings and arrivals, with visitor numbers once again going up by some 6 percent from 1,076,000 in 2012 to 1,137,000 last year. Revenues attributed to tourism also rose again from US$281.8 million in 2012 to US$293.6 million, a 4 percent increase on a year-by-year comparison. This ongoing trend has left tourism once more as the leading foreign exchange earner and lead sector of the Rwandan economy. The next big annual event coming up is the 10th anniversary of Kwita Izina, the gorilla naming ceremony which has over the past decade grown into a week-long festival to celebrate conservation, due this year on June 21 in Kinigi, outside the Volcanoes National Park headquarters near Musanze.
The new head of department then also announced the formation of a new Rwanda Convention Bureau which will be tasked to sell the new facilities in the region, the continent of Africa, and further abroad to bring regular large-scale meetings to Kigali, where presently at least 2 5-star hotels are under construction – the new Marriott Kigali Hotel and the hotel adjoining the new convention center which will be managed by Radisson Blue. The Convention Bureau will make its first international appearance at next week’s IMEX Show in Frankfurt, Germany, where the RDB will exhibit the new upcoming facilities for the first time to the world.
Presently, there are some 3,500 delegates flocking to Rwanda for the Annual General Meeting of the African Development Bank, which left every single room in hotels and guesthouses sold out, with some visitors having to resort to home stays or the use of private accommodation provided by residents of Kigali, to ensure that everyone had a roof over their head and a bed to sleep in.