The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) says it has seen progress resulting from its strategy to grow the Rwandan travel, tourism and hospitality value chain. The implementation of this strategy currently accounts for a total of US$1billion in investment.

The RDB said in a statement: “The opening of the Kigali Convention Center and major five-star hotels in Kigali in 2016 reflect an investment of more than US$300million. A further US$800million investment into travel and tourism infrastructure was launched with the purchase of two wide-bodied A330 Airbus jets and the start of construction of the new Bugesera airport earlier this year. The impact of the KCC and the hotel investments is already visible in the form of high-calibre conventions that have taken place at Kigali and have been booked into 2018 and beyond.”

The RDB added that the investments in the airline and the airport infrastructure were expected to further boost travel. It is forecast that the number of RwandAir passengers will rise from around 600 000 in 2016 to more than a million in 2018/19. “Long-haul flights to Asia and Europe will reshape the passenger structure. Becoming a flight hub in Africa will also offer additional opportunities for stopover vacations.”

They add that the billion-dollar injection will give private investors the opportunity to embark on new tourism products. Along the Kivu Belt, unique sites have been demarcated for tourism developments and that investment opportunities of more than US$150million are ready for immediate development.

The government has also demarcated land at the Twin Lakes, close to Volcanoes National Park, which is also available for immediate investments. While Akagera National Park and Lake Muhazi are set to benefit from new road developments, freeing up the availability of a limited number of sites close to Akagera National Park and at Lake Muhazi.