Rwanda: Tourism sector led export grow again in 2012
February 21, 2013- The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) announced recently that the tourism sector has registered strong performance in 2012. This sector generated 281.8 Million USD compared to 251.3 Million USD generated in 2011 at the same period which corresponds to an increase of 12%. Rica Rwigamba, Head of Tourism and Conservation at RDB said that, Rwanda’s tourism growth is attributed to hard work put in extension of its offering in the wake of rising demand for Rwanda’s tourism products to meet the ever increasing number of visitors to Rwanda. “
She added “The Huge growth of investors helped increase the growth of the tourism industry which resulted in putting Rwanda in the top end of tourist destinations in the region. As a result, international flight route have extended to Kigali with airway companies such as KLM, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and Sa Airlines.”
In 2012, Rwanda hosted 1,075,829 visitors compared to 908,001 in 2011, which represents an increase of 22%. This huge bump is due to extra opening hours of some of the land borders since October 2011.
In terms of investments, tourism registered 323.8 Million USD in 2012, an increase of 175% from 117.3 million USD in 2011. This overwhelming result is attributed to big projects that were registered.
Rica Rwigamba, Head of Tourism and Conservation at RDB said that “Internationally respected brands Marriot, Hilton, and Radisson Blue are expected to increase the number of 6 500 rooms that are available today to answer the demand from the rising number of tourists and business travellers as Rwanda positions itself as a conference hub.”
In the same spirit existing hotels and tourism establishments have embarked on a mission to improve their services through the strengthened professional associations in the tourism chamber.
Rica Rwigamba said: “Also notable achievements are noted in conservation and community development which is at the core of the sustainable tourism agenda, the results reflected in contribution towards communities’ welfare under the revenue sharing framework. RDB committed additional five per cent of its revenues generated in parks to the compensation fund that is currently managed by the Special Guarantee fund. The Revenue sharing scheme has been invested in community schools, health centres, and handicraft cooperatives.”
Despite the fact that the number of Rwandan tourists visiting sites like canopy walk in Nyungwe National Park has increased, domestic tourism still needs to grow in the country and that is why RDB is putting an effort to interest local tourists.
Tourism remains one of the fastest growing and most dynamic sectors in Rwandan economy. It has contributed to the foreign exchange receipts in the country and increased Rwanda’s international visibility as an emerging economy. After the worldwide financial crisis of 2008, revenues from tourism sector has been increasing from US $175 in 2009 to US$ 251 in 2011.
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Source: The Rwanda Development Board