India becomes important tourism market for Rwanda

Rwanda is for the first time showcasing its remarkable attractions and investment opportunities in tourism and hospitality at the Outbound Travel Mart (OTM), taking place in India from February 18 to 20. The three-day travel trade fair is the largest in India, attracting 1,000 exhibitors from seventy-five countries. Representatives from the Rwandan tourism industry, including tour and travel operators and hotels, are representing Rwanda’s tourism offerings in two cities – Mumbai and Bangalore. The trade show conducted in a business-to-business (B2B) format will allow Rwandans to connect with businessmen all around the world and have an engaging conversation about what Rwanda has to offer in the tourism sector, and to attract more visitors from Asia.

Belise Kariza, the Chief Tourism Officer at the Rwanda Development Board, said Rwanda’s participation at India’s leading outbound travel show presents a good opportunity to tap into a fast-growing market of tourists. She added, “India is an emerging key source market for Rwanda, with 15 million travelers and US$12.3 billion spending globally in foreign destinations annually, excluding transport.”

During this Indian travel show, Rwanda will denote itself as a premier business and tourism destination in Africa and create awareness of Rwanda’s diverse range of unique experiences, for both business and leisure travel. As Mumbai is the business hub of India, the travel show will be a great occasion for Rwanda to actively promote Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events (MICE), to an audience where a majority of outbound trips are for business purposes. Recorded arrivals from India to Rwanda reveal a 55% increase in business travelers in the 5-year period of 2009-2013, from 3,675 to 6,340 visitors.

Rwanda is showcasing among 1,000 exhibitors to an interested audience of about 15,000 people. Visitors to the Rwanda stand will be taken on an incredible journey as they discover Rwanda’s breath-taking scenery and landscape; eco-adventure tourism like gorilla tracking, nature walks, and birding; the booming hospitality sector; and the advent of world-class conferencing venues.

RwandAir will launch direct flights from Kigali to Mumbai come September, when the airline has taken delivery of their first Airbus A330 aircraft, for the first time launching intercontinental flights and having selected Mumbai as its first overseas destination.