Tourists travel to different locations because such sites hold something unique that is not so common in their homelands. Probably even something they will call “truly native”. But mark their expressions when they also come across something global; something they can easily relate with; something recognizable and held dear back home.
They will smile with relief, and their anecdotes about their experiences in such and such a foreign place will be fulsome, but also basically because they could go to a hotel or shop and conduct business normally with an American Express card, or Visa. Or perhaps the country and town they visited had a McDonald’s eatery. Better still, a Starbucks coffee shop.
Rwanda makes a handsome buck from tourism, so when big names associated with tourist interests take keener interest in Rwanda, we all stand to benefit.
Starbucks’ Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz’s recent meeting with President Paul Kagame points to a rosier future for Rwanda’s coffee farmers, as the global coffee house wants a partnership with the farmers in terms of elevating the quality of coffee produced so that it fetches higher prices on the competitive international coffee market, by setting up a coffee farmers’ support centre.
A city becomes truly cosmopolitan when it has many diverse services that are to be found elsewhere where foreign nationals enjoy them. One can only imagine the excitement when a mere coffee shop was opened up on the Union Trade Centre.
But now if the name Starbucks is linked with Rwanda, the benefits will be there, but in more ways than one; for these are benefits going not just to trickle to, but specifically designed for the rural farmer.
Applause is given to all people making Rwanda a true tourist heaven, and especially where the local resident is put in the picture to harvest of the inflowing golden dollar.