Rwanda, best African destination for Sustainable Tourism goals

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Counted as the Country of Thousand Hills, Rwanda is standing a leading and attractive tourist destination, competing with African destinations with rising tourism.

Gorilla trekking safaris, rich cultures of the Rwandese people, scenery and friendly tourist investment environment have all, attracted tourists and tourist investment companies from across the world to visit and invest in this rising African safari destination.

The Africa Travel Association (ATA) World Congress is one among key, global tourism gathering that took place in Kigali late in August this year and attracted over 300 global tourism leaders including policy makers, pioneers in travel trade industry and the media.

The 41st ATA World Congress was held for the first time in Rwanda since its inception in 1975. The Africa Hotel Investments Forum (AHIF) is the other tourism gathering scheduled in Kigali in this month.

Tourism is a booming industry in Rwanda. It earned this African safari destination US$404 million in 2016 to compete with coffee. In the capital of Kigali, a futuristic new convention center is part of the government’s plan to frame the centrally located city as a major business hub.

Marriott International and Radisson Blu have opened 200-plus-room hotels to accommodate the influx of tourists flocking to Rwanda for holidays, mostly for Gorilla trekking expeditions.

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) projects the tourism sector to generate about US$ 444 million in 2017, up from US$404 million recorded last year.

The agency is counting on the continued tourism promotion efforts, as well as Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events and Exhibitions (MICE) subsector to achieve this target.

The MICE subsector is expected to earn about US$64 million this year, up from the US$47 million it recorded last year.

RwandAir, the country’s national carrier had launched the Kigali to London route in May this year, targeting to attract more Britons to Kigali. The airline connects 11 African nations to various world destinations through the capital of Kigali.

Currently the airline flies three times a week from London to Kigali, with its inbound route flying through Brussels in Belgium.

Celebrating the World Tourism Day late in September, Rwanda has been highly recognized  for its efforts toward sustainable tourism development by promoting sustainable tourism through development of eco-villages, real estate construction, sustainable home-stays and wildlife viewing in its national parks, as well as the sustainable transportation facilities.

Clarence Fernandes, the chairman of Rwanda Renaissance, a Mumbai-India based firm that promotes tourism, trade, investment and culture between India and Rwanda, said such initiatives help make the country more attractive and competitive in the global tourism market.

Fernandes was speaking during the World Tourism Conclave and Awards in Mumbai, India on September 26, where Rwanda Renaissance was recognised for supporting sustainable tourism efforts, as well as promotion of bilateral tourism and cultural relations between India and Rwanda by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

South African Tourism is the other agency on the continent that received a similar award, according to organizers, Creed Entertainment and Young Environmentalists.

The event attracted stalwarts of the global tourism industry, officials from Climate Reality, the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, and diplomats from different parts of the world.

Sector players and organisations that promote a sustainable tourism industry were also recognised during the event. The World Tourism Organisation declared 2017 as the International Year for Sustainable Tourism.

Rwanda was recognized among leading African destinations along with South Africa.