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Is Rwanda the Next African Tourism Destination?


Labeled as the ‘Country of Thousand Hills’, Rwanda is now a leading and attractive tourist destination, competing with other African destinations.

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

A silverback mountain gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
A silverback mountain gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

The Africa Travel Association (ATA) World Congress is among the 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 Africa Hotel Investments Forum (AHIF) is the other tourism gathering scheduled in Kigali in October.

Tourism is a booming industry in Rwanda. In 2016, tourism earned Rwanda US$404 million to compete with coffee as the major industry. In the capital of Kigali, a futuristic new convention centre is part of the government’s plan to boost the city as a major business hub. Famed hotel chains 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.

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) aims the tourism sector to generate about US$ 444 million in 2017, up from US$404 million recorded last year. RDB is counting on the continued tourism promotion efforts, as well as Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events and Exhibitions (MICE) sub-sector to achieve this target. MICE is expected to generate 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 the Rwandan capital. The airline connects 11 African nations to various world destinations through the capital.

Rwanda has been recognized among leading African destinations along with South Africa. The country greatly supports development of sustainable tourism.

Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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