Over a Million Tourists Help Rwanda’s Tourism Revenue Cross US$ 300m, Reports KT Press
Rwanda tourism revenues increased from $293m in 2013, to$303m in 2014, representing a 3% increase, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) says.
Between July 2013 and June 2014, Rwanda received 1.17 million visitors, compared to the previous year with 1.14 million tourists. RDB targets hitting $860m mark by 2016. However, experts warn that the target is too ambitious and may not be attained due to different shortfalls, especially in the quality of services.
“When you look at Rwanda’s tourism growth in a regional perspective, a lot needs to be done,” said Joseph Opondo, a lecturer at Rwanda Tourism University. “There should be more efforts in improving services in different sectors of this country.” Opondo said that this is because Rwanda has a few tourism institutions that cannot produce professionals that satisfy services in this growing economy.
But RDB says a number of initiatives such as Meetings, Incentives, Conferences (MICE), new tourism products including Religious Tourism, Caves Tourism in Rwanda’s Northern Province, are vital tools for increasing tourism revenues.
The country is also investing in tourism marketing on the regional and international level, with liaison offices in various countries. Rwanda was recently named a ‘must see destination’ by CNN Fodor’s Travel.
To push the sector growth, since 2013, nationals of all African countries traveling to or transiting through Rwanda are issued entry visa upon arrival at any Rwandan entry point. Moses Rutayisire, the Coordinator of Tourism Chamber at Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF) told KTPressthat there are three projects; Kalisimbi cable car on Kalisimbi Mountain, Lake Kivu boat services and a cultural village that will generate huge volumes in the next few years.
Once Kalisimbi cable car services are in place by 2017, this could increase tourism revenues from mountain gorilla trekking. Rwanda’s tourism has risen astoundingly in past decade, growing from $62m in 2000, to the current figures, with Gorilla permits counting for the largest portion.