On behalf of Rwanda Development Board- Tourism and Conservation, I wish to extend my gratitude to Sam Rwego for his letter, ‘Congratulations Rwanda - you did it yet again!’, that appeared in The New Times dated March 15th 2010. In regard to his request that RDB explains to the Rwandan pubic how wining the prize is actually helping our tourism industry, below are some clarifications;
• ITB-Berlin is the world’s largest tourism fair and is a wonderful opportunity to promote Rwanda as a must see destination to the whole world under one roof.
This year’s ITB attracted over 11,000 exhibitors as well as thousands of visitors and travel media representatives; making it the best turnout ever in its history. Rwanda’s recognition is therefore a testament that the world acknowledges the county’s immense tourism potential and diversity.
• Winning this trophy is a great promotional tool for Rwanda that will contribute to increasing the number of tourists to Rwanda. Globally and at such fairs, Rwanda was considered as an unsafe country in ruins after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, rather than the tourism experiences available.
At this fair, such recognition, in presence of thousands of travel media present, helps reinstate traveller confidence worldwide, and is therefore a vote of confidence that Rwanda has moved on to a new era with prevailing peace and stability that has enabled tourism to flourish.
• ITB-Berlin is an excellent opportunity for the tourism sector to meet business partners and conclude business partnerships both in the short term and long term.
As a result, we have had several tour operators and travel agencies including Rwanda in their tour programs and offering the destination to their clients as well as direct bookings by travellers intending to come to Rwanda.
Rwanda’s Investment opportunities are also showcased to potential investors.
• The award is equally a wakeup call to the country especially those in the tourism sector to ensure that the award winning image and the high level of professionalism and hospitality displayed at ITB will be experienced by all visitors to Rwanda.
We agree with Mr. Rwego about the importance of sharing information with the public about such events. Indeed that is why we always inform media and general public on the latest developments and events such as participation at international tourism fairs.
We have equally updated this information on our TravelRwanda pages on Twitter and Facebook. We remain committed to keeping the public informed since we believe that for tourism to prosper, every Rwandan has a great role to play.
Annette Tamara MBABAZI