Editorial: New Kivu Belt tourism initiative a welcome addition to existing efforts

The initiative, a joint effort between Rwanda and GIZ is a welcome addition to ongoing efforts to take the country’s tourism sector to the next level.
An evening view of Lake Kivu from Rutsiro District, one of the five districts of Western Province that make up Kivu belt. / Régis Umurengezi

Rwanda seeks to nearly double its tourism receipts to USD 800 million by 2014. The Government also hopes to significantly increase the number of jobs the sector directly creates, up from some 900,000 last year.

To achieve this target there is need for a holistic  multisectoral approach that involves both public and private sectors. The concept of Public-Private Partnerships, or PPPs, is not new to the country’s tourism sector, with private players increasingly taking up the role of management of top destinations around the country, mainly national parks.

This is a model that has proven successful in several sectors across the world. That’s why last week’s unveiling of a new initiative by private and public actors that seeks to promote several destinations straddling five districts along Lake Kivu is not only timely but a refreshing effort that could unlock the western region’s tourist potential.

According to those behind it, the Kivu Belt Destination Management Unit seeks to attract more domestic and foreign visitors to several touristic sites in five districts that make up what is known as the Kivu Belt. They are Rubavu, Rutsiro, Karongi, Nyamasheke and Rusizi districts.

The region offers a range of touristic products, from hiking trails, biking on the Congo Nile Trail, and kayaking on Lake Kivu, to visiting national parks and community engagements, and the latest move will go a long way in raising the profile of these destinations.

The initiative, a joint effort between Rwanda Private Sector Federation’s Chamber of Tourism and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) is a welcome addition to ongoing efforts to take the country’s tourism sector to the next level.

Such private-sector led initiatives will not only help unlock the country’s tourism potential but will create many new jobs for particularly nearby communities and development projects from increased tourism receipts.

However, there is need for Rwandans to embrace these efforts by visiting these breathtaking destinations and enjoying the different impressive products on offer.