Travel agency expands presence in Rwanda
Expedia Inc, the largest online travel company is set to expand its partnership with the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors to boost tourist arrivals.
The online travel company is considered the largest in the world with over 130,000 hotel partners worldwide and more than 90 localised points of sale in over 60 countries.
During a seminar dubbed, “Online Travel in Rwanda”, the head of the Tourism and Conservation department at Rwanda Development Board, Rica Rwigamba, observed that the partnership with the global online agency would enable local hotels, airlines, car hires and tour operators feature on its brands and receive bookings from its clients.
“Rwanda will gain visibility thus promoting awareness of this country as a top tourism destination as well as a launching pad for global travel. We want to increase receipts which means we have to increase sales. This will be a big boost to Rwanda’s tourism revenue,” Rwigamba said.
Rwigamba urged the different operators in the hospitality industry to take advantage of the recently introduced online payment and to also pursue technology since most successful businesses operate online today.
She noted that 70 per cent of decisions among travellers today are made online which reflects the direction the tourism industry is heading to, stressing that its presence online is an important pattern in increasing sales.
Currently, only eleven hotels in the country partner with Expedia.
Edwin Sabuhoro, the Chairman of the Tourism Chamber with Private Sector Foundation noted that by working with Expedia, the country was positioning itself on the global market .
“We want to see how we can sell more online, market ourselves and have more tourists coming in to increase competitiveness, tourism revenues and create more jobs for Rwandans,” he said.
He noted that there are presently over 60 per cent online sales through Expedia, pointing out that people want to do things instantaneously and in a convenient manner such as booking hotels online, to simplify life.
Sabuhoro said people within the hospitality industry interested in partnering with Expedia would receive free training and be facilitated to manage online travelling.
Rwanda Development Board’s Chief Executive Officer, John Gara, noted that tourism is influenced by technological revolution and is hence prone to change akin to other businesses.
He said effective use of engines such as Expedia Inc. is essential in promoting Rwandan tourism.
Contact email: maria.kaitesi[at]newtimes.co.rw