The Government should move swiftly to ensure that national museums are focused on specific topics, history documented for local tourist sites and made available to visitors, while buffer zones should be extended for Akagera and Volcanoes national parks.
The recommendations are contained in a report on the implementation of government programmes in the tourism industry, which was prepared by the senatorial Standing Committee on Economic Development and Finance.
The report was presented yesterday in the Senate by senators led by Jacqueline Muhongayire, chairperson of the committee.
The legislators have made six recommendations to the Government for further developing the tourism sector, including ensuring that districts put developing tourism in their annual performance contracts and devise tourism master plans.
“The national tourism master plan is not detailed but district’s tourism master plans would bring in details that are needed to promote tourist sites in the entire country,” said Senator Evariste Bizimana, a member of the committee.
Many senators noted that promoting tourism is at the moment a much centralised role under the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), advising that more ownership is needed at the district level.
Senate vice-president Jeanne d’Arc Gakuba said a lot needs to be done to make things clear on who is in charge of implementing what in the national tourism roadmap.
“There is a problem when it comes to implementation. It should be clear who is in charge of doing what,” Gakuba said, calling for a swift implementation of the national tourism master plan.
The other five recommendations are the need to ensure that designated national museums focus on specific topics such as colonisation, nature, liberation war, among other areas, expanding buffer zones to prevent animals in Akagera and Volcanoes national parks from attacking people and their property, and opening the northern entrance of Akagera National Park to facilitate tourists coming from the northern part of the country.
They also include conducting research to enrich documentation of the history about different touristic sites in the country and ensuring that training in tourism and hospitality sectors is based more on practice than theories.
Meanwhile, the legislators commended the government’s efforts to set up the country’s tourism master plan, setting up a strategy to promote MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) sector, and recruitment of more staff to manage parks and other touristic sites.
Rwanda’s tourism sector has lately been tremendously growing, with the RDB estimating revenues from it at $318 million in 2015 up from $131 million in 2006.
“The trend for revenues coming from the tourism sector is good,” Senator Muhongayire said.
The Senate will hand over the report to the Government for action.