Dutch firms explore investment opportunities in tourism sector

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Gorillas feed in Virunga National Park. A Dutch group are to develop world class tourism destinations in emerging markets in Africa such as Rwanda. (File)

Representatives of several Dutch companies interested in the tourism sector are in Rwanda to identify viable investment opportunities.

The companies, led by GreenDreamCompany, a Dutch group that specializes in sustainable area development of natural and cultural heritage sites with the use of tourism, arrived on Wednesday intent on staying for a week.

The trade mission comes a week after local industry operators again showcased Rwanda’s vast tourism potential during a week-long tourism fair Vakantiebeurs 2016 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

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Zebras in Akagera National Park. (File)

The GreenDreamCompany owners, Léon van Rijckevorsel and Leontine van Hooft, led the delegation.

“The GreenDreamCompany is specializing in leisure and tourism sector development. All parties who joined the mission are companies who are involved in our planned developments in Rwanda. This is a fieldtrip to visit all locations and to meet local stakeholders,” van Hooft, told Sunday Times in an e-mail.

“We ourselves have been coming here for the past three years. This is the first time our design and development team comes to see the locations and to start up the creative process.”

Their website indicates that GreenDreamCompany has a vision to create a ‘chain’ of beautiful tourism resorts and destinations in Africa, all inspired by the travels of the ancient King Solomon. They are working to connect beautiful locations in 15 countries under their brand name: “Solomon’s Hidden Treasures.”

Their first projects will be located in Rwanda and Ethiopia, two countries rich in cultural and natural heritage.

The couple and a group of partners developed ‘Solomon’s Hidden Treasures Rwanda’ which aims to develop sustainable projects serving tourists. 

Robert Kayinamura, First Counselor at the Rwandan embassy in The Hague, said that for the past three years, they had been meeting GreenDreamCompany owners and provided assistance. 

Kayinamura said: “Now they are coming with partners and financiers to meet all stakeholders and then finalize plans. The embassy has met them several times in line with the country’s economic policy of tourism development which will play an important role in economic development.”

“They are going to add to our infrastructure. Then they will be part of the marketing of Rwanda as a tourist destination.”

The countries that GreenDreamCompany wants to connect through the Solomon’s Hidden Treasure chain of resorts are: Israel–Egypt–North and South Sudan–Ethiopia–Uganda–Burundi-Rwanda–Tanzania–Zambia–Malawi–Zimbabwe–Mozambique–South Africa and Lesotho.

Meanwhile, the recently published 2015 edition of the Africa Tourism Monitor, an annual report of the AfDB, New York University’s Africa House and the Africa Travel Association, says tourism is on the rise on the African continent but is yet to reach its full potential.

The report said Africa international tourism arrivals increased to 65.3 million in 2014 while international tourism receipts totaled $43.6 billion in the same year.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw