The Meetings, Incentives, Conferences/Conventions, Events/Exhibitions (Mice) sub-sector is projected to the drive growth of the tourism industry this year, riding on the back of gains made last year, according to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
Faustin Karasira, the acting head of the tourism department at RDB, said earnings from the tourism sector grew by three per cent during 2013/2014 financial year, thanks to revenues from different initiatives, including Mice tourism that was officially launched last year.
Last year, Rwanda hosted a number of high profile conferences, like the African Development Bank annual meetings, World Export Development Forum for SMEs, the Glocal Innovation Convention for ICT young innovators in November, the 20th Genocide commemoration activities, and the 10th ‘Kwita Izina’ gorilla naming ceremony.
“There are many ongoing investments that will drive the MICE sector like opening of new hotels, the expansion of RwandAir, the single tourist visa, and the positive perception of Rwanda by visitors,” Karasira explained in an interview with The New Times yesterday.
He noted that global organisations and agencies choosing to host their events and conferences in the country was a vote of confidence in Rwanda as a MICE tourism destination.
Between July 2013 and June last year, Rwanda received 1.17 million visitors, which translated in $297.4 million in revenues. This was a three per cent increase compared to the previous fiscal year, where Rwanda received 1.14 million tourists that brought in $296.4 million in revenues, according to figures from RDB.
Karasira said they were currently aggressively marketing Rwanda’s tourism at regional and international levels through tourism marketing representations introduced in different countries, like China, and the East African Community states.
He said they have also introduced new tourism products, such as religious tourism in Kibeho, caves tours in Musanze District and the Gisovu destination, north of Nyungwe National Park where tourists can view the source of the River Nile, Chimpanzees and nature, as well as touring the nearby tea plantations.