Private and public actors in the tourism industry were on Saturday recognized with awards, an occasion at which they were reminded of the tremendous contribution their work has towards the country’s development.
Dubbed Rwanda Tourism Awards, the prizes are organised annually by the Rwanda Chamber of Tourism and the Rwanda Development Board to appreciate and recognise the importance of the operators in the sector and celebrate their annual achievements.
This is the second edition of the celebration, the first was in 2018. This year’s edition was held under the theme; “Promoting Growth and Diversity through Tourism.”
Different tourism actors and other stakeholders drawn from different associations that make up the chamber of tourism were awarded based on service excellence, innovation, sustainability (sustainable attractions that are eco-friendly, with long term environmental impact).
Organisations and institutions responsible for developing the tourism sector in both public and private sectors, professionals, individuals, opinion leaders, industry pioneers, founders, executives of companies operating tourism-related businesses were among the participants in the awards.
Among the significant winners of 2019 was Mapendano Voyages which was declared the leading tour operator; Musanze-based One and Only Gorilla’s Nest as the best luxury lodge resort and Landmark Suites the best mid-range hotel.
Inka Steak House was recognised as the overall restaurant of the year.
Among others, the University of Tourism, Technology and Business Studies won the best tourism and hospitality university of the year, IPRC-Musanze won the best tourism and hospitality TVET school of the year, and Pfunda Tea Cooperative won the Community Based Tourism Initiative of the year award.
Speaking at the awarding event, Frank Mugisha, the Director-General of the Tourism Chamber urged the actors about the general contribution of the sector towards the economy.
“The tourism sector transcends the consumption on the ground. It tells stories of this nation and bridges geographical gaps and to unite cultures in a way that in the end has resulted in economic development.”
“So as we are celebrating such achievements under the theme for this year promotion of growth and diversity through tourism, we would like to recognize everyone’s efforts from public to private sector to civil society,” he said.
Rwanda’s tourism sector continues to be a key pillar in the economic development of the country and in fact the leading forex earner.
This sector contributes over 35% to national revenues and it’s, expected to double revenues to $800 million in the next five years, an ambitious plan that is backed by various high-level initiatives and commitments.