EDITORIAL: MICE is an achievable, realistic vision for Rwanda

Officials at Rwanda Convention Bureau have revealed to The New Times that over 35,000 international delegates could have been here in Rwanda for different meetings during just the year 2018 that is drawing towards an end.

During the same period, the different meetings that were hosted in the country brought in an estimated $52 million (approximately Rwf45.5 billion).

These are just tentative figures and according to the Bureau, they are likely to go up was everything has been consolidated.

This only justifies the fact that the long-held dream of making Rwanda and most specifically our capital Kigali, a regional hub for conferences and meetings as envisioned in the MICE strategy.

With the government and some other partners playing their part to make this vision a reality, it is important that everyone comes on board to fix any loopholes that may still be prevalent to ensure we get where we want to be, and quickly.

Such loopholes as has been cited by different reports include the state of customer service in the industry which has been found to still be wanting.

It is important that sector players and consumers support initiatives that are geared at enhancing customer service and boost the country’s attractiveness as a MICE destination.

The country should also continue to market itself as a ‘must visit’ destination.

A report released last year by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development indicates that tourism, including MICE, has the potential to drive transformative and inclusive growth and offers great opportunities for economic and export diversification.

However, to realise these benefits, service providers must up their game and address challenges like poor customer service for visitors to enjoy what Rwanda offers and visit again.

We must also look beyond Kigali for these events to ensure the benefits that come with them are spread across the country, and hopefully, the new secondary cities that are taking shape in all corners of the country will be able to address this.

Over and above, players in the private sector must do their part.