Are Rwandans doing enough to promote tourism?

Editor, RE: “A holistic approach will spur tourism promotion” (The New Times, July 26).
A herd of elephants in Akagera National Park. (Timothy Kisambira)
A herd of elephants in Akagera National Park. (Timothy Kisambira)

Editor,

RE:A holistic approach will spur tourism promotion” (The New Times, July 26).

 

I would not like to duplicate what was earlier produced here on the issue of tourism in Rwanda but rather add my voice to those that wrote a thing or two on the subject. The two alternatives (of promoting foreign and domestic tourism) are all beneficial to our nation, if we handle them properly.

 

To break the whole concept down we should recall that we are an eco-tourism destination; we conserve what we have first and then precociously tour. But there are other unlimited forms of tourism that of recent Rwandans have learned about, these include community tourism, religious tourism, sports tourism, medical tourism, education tourism and so on and so forth.

 

In my opinion I believe that, to a larger extent, Rwandans have not fully contributed to the growth of the sector to the fullest of their potential and the potential of this beautiful nation. Rwanda is just a smaller version of Africa, whatever you can find anywhere else in Africa you can almost find it all in Remarkable Rwanda – with probably just a few things lacking.

I usually tell people that copying is not bad if you are copying from the best and aiming at improvement. A good example we can copy, for instance, is from Cairo, Egypt where every taxi-hire driver is a guide. We lack basic tourism knowledge on our fingertips as even those that live around our top tourist destinations are largely clueless about what their areas have to offer.

There is need for a mindset change, especially in the hospitality industry which is part of the tourism value chain. The government has greatly contributed to this but the private sector needs to come in and do the needful through implementing the very things that we keep talking about.  

We need to know our civilization not only our history but also how we have evolved to date.

Fellow Rwandans out there in the Diaspora, bring your friends and the friends of Rwanda to see this mighty gem of ours, the green mountains with springs of water that flow all over, come back home as well and live the nostalgic moments of your childhood.

Also, our culture has been appreciated and adored by millions. Yet this is another aspect that has not been fully utilised.

Let’s all do everything possible to individually and collectively promote tourism, after all it has proved to be our leading foreign exchange earner in recent years.  

I also take note of the achievements hitherto registered under the MICE initiative; indeed the early benefits speak volumes.

Khassim Bizimungu

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