Tourism ends as top earner for 2011 in Rwanda

(eTN) - Preliminary figures availed over the weekend from usually well-informed sources indicate that the tourism sector has overtaken coffee and tea to become Rwanda’s top foreign exchange earner,

Tourism ends as top earner for 2011 in Rwanda

(eTN) – Preliminary figures availed over the weekend from usually well-informed sources indicate that the tourism sector has overtaken coffee and tea to become Rwanda’s top foreign exchange earner, during a year which also saw new arrival records being established.

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The widening network and increased flight frequencies by national airline, RwandAir, now for instance flying 6 times a week to Dubai, along with the coming to Kigali by KLM, now operating 5 times a week from Amsterdam to Rwanda in conjunction with a stop in Entebbe, Uganda, have translated to more and more tourists being able to connect with ease to “The land of a thousand hills,” as Rwanda is also known. This, combined with uncanny PR and marketing skills by a coalition of private and public sector promoters, had Rwanda arrivals going up, up, and then up some more.

Presence at all key international tourism trade fairs and joining the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) all added to giving Rwanda an edge and resulted in record earnings and arrivals; full data will be published here just as soon as the statisticians at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) officially release the results.

The trend was also supported by adding more beds in the capital of Kigali, as well as in key upcountry locations, easing the pressure of previous years when fully booked hotels prevented clients from being able to actually come to the country in the absence of confirmed accommodation.

On condition of anonymity, considering that no final figures had been tallied so early in the new year, a regular source said: ‘… and I think our internal target of US$216 million can be exceeded for 2011. Conference tourism and the opening of new attractions, like the bird trails outside the national parks and the launch of the Congo Nile Trail (CNT), have all contributed. CNT will really only come fully into play next year after the big PR campaign, which gave it a lot of exposure, but otherwise, we are happy with 2011.”

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