The Rwanda Tourism Board is seen as the best example in sub-Saharan Africa of how to organize and improve tourism development and get a workable system off the ground. Talking the fact that Rwanda has been through a traumatizing history of the 1994 genocide that saw most the Rwandese people die others being displaced, it goes without saying that Rwanda has picked the pieces from that history and now its doing well compared to Uganda that has at least been stable for some time now!
Representatives of the newly established Ugandan Tourism Board were in Kigali of recent to meet with the RTB. Chairman of UTB, Roni Madhvani, said that in although Uganda tourism is doing well and actually the fastest growing activity in country, Rwanda tourism is slightly better than Uganda, and that is evidently explained in the recently held travel market in Berlin Germany where Rwanda displayed the most attractive stole and emerged the best in Africa.
The impressive achievements in Rwanda inspired them to meet, see and share what had been achieved so far. He said that since Rwanda and Uganda had such diverse products and different markets, they could never be competition for each other. Roni told the press in a media briefing that Rwanda is a showcase in Africa with regards to infrastructure, encouraging policies and products.
Ms Grace Mbabazi of the Ugandan Ministry of Tourism, Trade & Industry told the media that four years ago they had received just over 100 000 visitors. Last year arrivals had increased to approximately 516 000 providing 35% of total foreign earnings for the country.
In his welcoming address, Ms Rosette Rugamba said that although tourism was an ever-changing industry, the goal was the same throughout Africa: to reduce poverty and create jobs. “It is an honour that you chose to come to Rwanda on this mission. African co-operation and partnerships for the advancement of the continent’s economy and the reduction of poverty is the goal of all African countries.”
African governments are now realizing the importance of tourism for job creation and are committed to developing policies to increase human-capacity building. Rwanda is willing to share information on licensing, grading, levy systems, how to collect the levies, how to enforce the policies and how to find those who are not paying their dues. In order to see to it that tourism in east Africa grows as desired.