The Government of Rwanda, through the Rwanda Development Board, has put in place strategies to grow the industry to meet the country’s broader targets of growing tourism revenues to over US$800 million annually by 2024.
These include improving tourism infrastructure to support an increased stay of tourists, positioning Rwanda as a world-class high-end ecotourism destination, building the capacities of the private sector to provide first-rate levels of service, and continuing conservation of the environment and wildlife.
The Rwanda Development Board is also focusing on product diversification by introducing new products such as para motoring, liberation trails, bird watching sites, and marketing Rwanda as a global cycling competition destination. The Rwanda Film Office also aims to grow film tourism to the country.
Construction of the new Bugesera International Airport in Kigali is progressing and RwandAir continues to expand. “The airline now flies to over 29, including Brussels, Guangzhou, Gulf Cooperation Council countries, London, Cape Town and Mumbai. Soon, New York will be on the list and we hope to receive more tourists thanks to the national carrier,” according to the Board.
The number of hotel rooms in the country has also increased from 4 700 in 2010 to over 14 000 in 2018. New, high standard (five-star) properties include Bisate and Magashi Lodges by Wilderness Safaris; One&Only Nyungwe House and Gorilla’s Nest lodges; Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House; Kigali Marriott Hotel, and the Radisson Blu Hotel, among others.
“Rwanda aims to be the premier eco-tourism destination on the African continent … and is building a reputation as a high-quality, low-footprint luxury tourism destination,” according to the RDB, which adds that the country is targeting the low-volume, high-value tourism audience, with key markets including the US, UK, Germany, Australia, China, Gulf Cooperation Council countries, China, UK, Israel, and Africa.
The RDB further notes that Rwanda has been lauded for its efforts toward sustainable tourism development by promoting eco-villages and sustainable real estate construction, sustainable home-stays and wildlife viewing in its national parks, as well as the sustainable transportation facilities.
As part of its efforts, the country has increased its protected area by adding a new national park, Gishwati-Mukura, which will be open for visitors soon.
“Gorilla trekking is often the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Rwanda. But this experience is only the tip of the iceberg of what Rwanda has to offer. From birding, to the rich Rwandan culture and history; water-based activities such as fishing, kayaking, canoeing and boat rides; seeing the Big Five in Akagera National Park, and the exciting primate tracking experience in Nyungwe National Park,” the Board notes.