Tour operators say government led initiatives have led to increased tourism revenue

Author: InyaRwanda
On:29/06/2024 12:21
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Tour and travel operators are saying the government led initiatives and strategies like visa free and participation in global tourism fairs has led to an increase in tourism revenue.

Rwanda’s tourism revenue rose by 36 percent from $445 million in 2022 compared to $620 million in 2023 (approx: Rwf798 billion), as stated in the 2023 Rwanda Development Board (RDB) annual report.

The growth generated from 1.4 million visitors indicates that the sector has surpassed 2019 revenues, at a recovery rate of 124 percent from the hurdles of Covid-19 pandemic.

As a result of the country’s efforts to promote domestic tourism, this section increased to $47.7 million, contributing to increased visits to national parks which generated $35.79 million in 2023, the report adds.

For instance, the Volcanoes National Park famous for  mountain gorilla tours in Rwanda and Africa at large registered the highest increase of 38 percent in visitors, followed by Akagera National Park which increased by 24 percent, and Nyungwe National Park by 10 percent.

Consequently, RDB’s revenue sharing scheme with communities surrounding the national parks saw Rwf2 billion disbursed in different projects including 54 projects in agriculture sector, 43 infrastructure projects, 8 projects aimed at supplying equipment for rural shops, housing, and artisans, as well as 6 projects for community enterprises.

Muzungu Frank Managing Director Kigali car rentals, an agency renowned in offering cars for rentals in Rwanda majorly on self-drive basis says the growth comes as a yield of strategies by those in charge to position Rwanda as a unique high-end, low-volume, eco-tourism destination, and conservation efforts.

“The country has consistently participated in top global tourism business fairs over the past 20 years, including the ITB Berlin, we are Africa, ILTM (Singapore, Cannes, and Virtuoso) where Rwandan travel agencies engage with tourism buyers,”

"As the country continue attracting top hospitality brands, diversify the offerings and products, and offer more leisure products targeted to families the revenues increase," Muzungu added.

Despite the government’s regulation move on closing time for nightlife, the leisure segment of tourism increased by 48 percent compared to 2022 and accounts for $236 million of total revenue. It increased by 19 percent to pre-pandemic level.

When it comes to the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE) industry, Rwanda recorded $95 million in revenue in 2023, from 160 events that attracted 65,000 delegates.

Experts in the MICE industry note that through investments in infrastructure and promotional strategies, the safety and stability the country enjoys, and the visa-free regime, Rwanda continues to emerge as one of the top destinations in Africa as tourists would freely  travel in Rwanda  without any hesitation.

The revenue generated in 2023 might be a step closer to achieving the $800 million revenue target by 2024 from $400 million in 2017, as highlighted under the National Strategy of Transformation (NST1), the government’s seven-year (2017–2024) strategy that sets out plans for achieving its larger picture vision for economic development.