Rwanda Development Board – Tourism and Conservation is preparing for a complete rebranding of its image abroad, aimed to attract more visitors and offer a greater range of innovative products for tourists, alongside its most prominent tourists activity – gorilla tracking.
The country’s promotional body will work hand in hand with the private sector, already deeply involved in defining the image and presentation of the “New Rwanda”.
With more nonstop and direct flights from key “producer countries” it will be possible to expand tourism arrivals way beyond the current limits imposed by lack of air seats. The marketing reach will also expand when such airlines as Turkish will commence flights in April 2012.
“Our aim is multifold” said a regular source close to RDB. “We are working on diversification of our tourist products and the next week launch of the new Congo Nile Trail, which will traverse the continental water shed along Nyungwe and Gishwati forests, is one such measure. This can absorb a lot of added demand; will attract repeat visitors who have seen the gorillas, because that resource if finite, we only have 56 permits available per day. The next step is to break into new emerging markets, where we expect a lot of added interest resulting in our arrival numbers climbing in coming years in double digits.
And thirdly, new products help us and the private sector to keep visitors in country longer, spending more money on safaris lasting more days than they do now.
Finally, we are aiming at our own domestic market to have Rwandese take advantage of the many top class facilities which are now on the market and learn to appreciate our cultural and natural resources, our history and our traditions. Towards this end we have to give Rwanda Tourism a fresh new look and be certain that we move with the times, because our regional competitors are not asleep either.”
Hotel and tour operator associations and the guides are participating in the development of the new image and strategy and are said to be fully behind the move, knowing that united they are a force almost impossible to beat, while elsewhere in the region often bickering and festering arguments mark such processes, regularly based on personality clashes and the inability to work for a common good and objective.
In closing it was also confirmed that manpower development, training in tertiary and vocational institutions have also been stepped up to inject well trained Rwandan staff into the growing industry, although a bilateral agreement with Kenya does permit Kenyans to work in Rwanda’s tourism industry, and vice versa, assuring that service levels keep rising and are kept at par with those of other East African countries.