RWANDA REAPS HIGHLY IN CONFERENCE TOURISM
Conference tourism is a newly introduced tourism product which has made Rwanda an exceptional destination. With only a few days to the naming ceremony of Gorillas in Rwanda (Kwita Izina), the country is proud to have received about US $49 million in this year from only meetings and conferences and still hopes to triple the figure by 2016. With the country hosting the recently concluded African Development Bank meeting, Rwanda’s head of Tourism and Conservation, Ambassador Yamina Karitanyi is confident that Rwanda is becoming the top attraction for conference Tourism in the region.
On 1st July this year, the weeklong festival for the Kwita Izina ceremony will climax with the real naming activity for 18 baby gorillas under the theme “A decade of Conserving, Empowering and Growing”. During this ceremony, there will be recognition of different individuals, organizations and nations for their commendable efforts towards the conservation of the Mountain Gorilla. The 10th Kwita Izina anniversary ceremony comes at a time when Rwanda is celebrating its visible achievements. The ceremony has been credited for having greatly contributed to the increase in the number of Gorillas by 26.3% since 2003. The ceremony draws attention of the Gorilla conservation to the entire world hence sourcing enough support for the gorilla conservation.
While addressing a press conference at the Rwanda Development Board offices, Karitanyi noted that Rwanda safaris will continue to promote Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Event ( MICE) since the country has enough facilities to handle them. He remarked that with other attractions around, it is not surprising that the Tourism sector is the leading foreign exchange earner in the country.
Last year, over 1,137,000 visitors visited the country generating over $294million compared to the $62million collected in 2000. This tremendous growth has been attributed to the peace and security in the country, a variety of attractions and more so the coming up of Rwanda air that extends services to West Africa hence easing access to Rwanda for foreigners.