Whereas every year thousands of visitors are seen flocking into Africa for many reason,on other hand, one can be left to wonder or imagine how much revenue tourism generates?To many less attention is paid here but as for the case of Rwanda, there was a significant increase in its tourism revenue collection in 2017 alone. As a result, $438 million was collected compared to $404 million that was realized in 2016 and this was slightly less than the $440 million that was expected for last year. It is however expected to maintain its growth for this year based on the enhanced visa policies, security and safety in the country, investment in the required hospitality infrastructure and many other significant and supportive facilities in the tourism sector.
Rwanda also featured the 3rd premier MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourist destination in the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) ranking. 88% of the international arrivals that were registered in this country were mainly from other African states and business travelers had the largest share of the revenue collection. The MICE sector alone raked about 180 percent last year and the population of delegates that visited this country grew from 15000-28300. The business travelers represented about 33 percent and it was followed by visits with 29 percent while holiday makers accounted for about 27 percent. About 28308 delegates were registered last year alone compared to 23804 in 2016 that contributed $42 million in the MICE sector. As for this year (2018), about $74 is expected to be generated in the MICE sector. Over 169 international meetings were held in Rwanda and a 3rd of them were arranged by Rwanda Development Board’s new unit-Rwanda Convention Bureau.
Those who come within East Africa Community had 25%, followed by Europe with 22% making it the 3rd with the highest revenue collection in Rwanda. Based on nature where most of the safaris and tours are conducted, Volcanoes National Park-gorilla paradise in the Land of a Thousand Hills generated about $17.1 million and this represented 90% of the protected area revenue regardless of the 38% of visitors that paid a visit to this national park. Akagera National Park which is the only savanna grassland and wildlife park in this country accounted for $1 million and over 44000 visitors were registered last year alone while 14000 were recorded visited Nyungwe Forest National Park.
Gorilla permits last year registered tremendous increase in revenue accounting for 14.1% to about $18 million whereas sales a bit hiked by 3.5% to 24000 permits. About 173 million people were also attracted the fact that Rwanda is positioning itself as one of the premier safari destination in African continent. The figure was realized through familiarization tours, engagement in international travel trade shows and participation as well as regional and international fairs. This is even expected to drastically increase in 2018 given the current partnerships with arsenal FC. Besides, there is also Gishwati-Mukura National Park which is a newly established protected area in Rwanda and will officially open for tourists next year. This park is equally significant for travelers to engage in a number of exciting activities especially primate experiences, birding, hiking or nature walksand many more.
This drastic growth in this country’s tourism sector is expected to maintain its trend this year. Rwandair on the other hand undertakes flights to many destinations in Africa and the worldwide a factor that has enhanced connectivity and accessibility among many visitors. Kigali has also already held so many high level summits and many of them that yet to be conducted next months. Several high profile meetings are expected to be held in Kigali capital city and this includes the 8th FIFA Council Meeting. MICE sector was launched in 2014 by RDB with a view to diversify the country’s tourism products in addition to the already available gorilla adventures, Eco-tourism, community based tourism and cultural tourism.
Furthermore, its splendid conservation areas, Rwanda also boasts of its other unique tourist attractions and exciting activities like the splendid Lake Kivu, museums (such as the Kandt house museum, national art gallery museum, national liberation museum, ethnographic museum, King’s palace museum and others), genocide memorial sites (Kigali genocide memorial center, Nyamata genocide site, Murambi genocide memorial site, Nyanza genocide site, Ntarama genocide memorial site, Bisesero genocide memorial site and others), canopy walks in Nyungwe Forest National Park, bird watching, chimpanzee adventures and others. In addition to revenue collection, Rwanda’s tourism sector has also created over 90000 different job opportunities.
Conclusively, whereas a significant growth has been registered in the tourism sector in Rwanda, there is still a lot to be done to maintain or further improve on it and this can be best done by ensuring quality service delivery.