Wilson Habimana, the founder and founder of Wilson Tours Travels, a Rwandan tour company focusing on domestic tourism within Rwanda and encouraging Rwandans to explore the beauty of their nation by providing professional tourism services.
Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa had a chat with the 35 year old about domestic tourism in Rwanda.
Why did you choose to venture into tourism?
I studied tours and travels at University of Tourism, Technology and Business studies after completing my Bachelors, I immediately started my company.
I always had this dream because I always wondered why foreigners were the only tourists interested in knowing about our country and not even our neighbours. We started it in 2013 because I wanted to show Rwandans how rich their culture is. By encouraging Rwandans we are increasing the number of tourists and hence improving revenue.
How are you achieving your dream?
I work with both private and public institutions and individuals to create awareness by showing them how rich our culture is. We have packages that cater for all kinds of people with prices that are very friendly as low as RWF 35,000 to cater for the Rwandans. We deal with cultural, historical and general tourism which includes wildlife attractions.
We are working with schools because we want students to learn the theory but also be able to see with their own eyes. We are also working with the Rwandan Diaspora to be ambassadors of our cultural heritage.
What challenges have you faced so far?
Tourism was not part of the Rwandan culture and therefore it was difficult for them to understand the whole concept of domestic tourism. With the help of RDB, Locals are steadily appreciating because since we started we have had more than 600 Rwandans to different destinations.
How important are tourism companies like yours, to domestic tourists?
When one decides to tour alone it’s not only costly but can also be boring. You have to hire your own car and pay interest fee and yet we cater for everything including breakfast. We try to lower costs because we want Rwandans to have the opportunity to tour.
Demographically, young people like adventure which includes wild life, hiking and canopy while the elderly like touring historical sites and so we satisfy everyone’s needs. Because our motto is relax, discover and get connected, Wilson tours and travels created a social media campaign with the hashtag no boring weekends.
How do you guarantee your clients’ safety?
We have rules and regulations that are aimed at catering for tourists. Wilson tours also deals with insurance companies. Because we have diff activities in each park we ensure maximum safety for the tourists.
For example in Nyungwe, we have mountain gorillas that are friendly and this is when park rangers and guards are on the look out to protect tourists. Our staff is also trained with first aid and we are in agreement with insurance companies.
What are your future plans as regards contributing to tourism in this country?
We want to give tourism students more knowledge and experience by opening up a training centre to have a deeper understanding about tourism. We need more professional tour guides and thus we will train in customer care, tourism geography, and animal behaviour to be able to explain to the tourists.Follow https://twitter.com/SharonKMugabo