EDITORIAL: Use Berlin Awards as a spring board to spur tourism

Tourism industry stakeholders are buoyant about the sector’s future prospects following Rwanda’s impressive showing at the just-ended ITB Travel Exhibition in Berlin, Germany. The country won two accolades; the best of the best exhibitor and the best continental exhibitor, at one of the world’s biggest tourism expos.

Tourism industry stakeholders are buoyant about the sector’s future prospects following Rwanda’s impressive showing at the just-ended ITB Travel Exhibition in Berlin, Germany. The country won two accolades; the best of the best exhibitor and the best continental exhibitor, at one of the world’s biggest tourism expos.

This is great news for the country and sector players. However, they should not rest on their laurels. Instead, tourism industry players should use the awards and recognition as a launch pad to market the country and its many tourism attractions to attract more visitors. In short, this is not the time to bask in glory and think we have achieved it all.

How to translate the success at the Berlin expo into more numbers and revenues should be the question. Therefore, we can’t afford to relax, but rather to invigorate our efforts using the awards as a marketing opportunity to attract more tourists into the country.

The feat should challenge tourism sector stakeholders to aim for the sky; by reaching out to all segments of the tourism market to boost volumes and revenues.

Now is the time to expand the country’s tourist attractions, especially by working on those projects that have stalled, like building a cultural village in Gasabo District. Is there a way the tripartite initiative with Kenya and Uganda can be improved to make it more appealing to tourists? Also, a lot of emphasis has been put on attracting foreign visitors forgetting the potential of local tourism.

So, Rwanda Development Board and sector players should do more to attract domestic tourists.

Therefore, as we toast, let’s remember that there is still a lot to be done to make Rwanda a must visit tourist destination.

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