Members of the Tourism Chamber of the Private Sector Federation were yesterday trained on lobbying and advocacy skills to better serve the sector.
The training gathered 16 executive board members from five associations including Rwanda Tours and Travel Association (RTTA), Rwanda Hospitality Association Tourism Schools and the newly formed association of travel agents
Members were taken through the meaning of lobbying and advocacy, as well as stages and examples of lobbying.
“We need to be relevant to the changing and thriving industry but which is not understood by many stakeholders,” Edwin Sabuhoro, the trainer, said.
Members were briefed on how crucial communication is, building of a coalition of voices, Planning and positive messaging are in lobby and advocacy.
“Advocacy is a process and tourism is thriving but it’s not understood by many, that’s why we need the skills to go out there, and engage policy makers if our voice is to be heard,” Sabuhoro added.
The trainer emphasised that, in advocacy, the main thing is to clearly identify the decision-makers, and the person you seek to influence.
Bart Gasana, the Chairman of Rwanda Tourism Chamber, told participants that it’s their choice to change how things are being done.
“We need to grow with the industry, be ahead of things and stay relevant because the industry is moving at a supersonic speed,” Gasana warned.
He said that the Tourism Chamber needs to take the lead in guiding the business community to stay focused and take advantage of new opportunities presented by the blueprints and infrastructure put in place by government.
He cited an example of RwandAir that grew its destinations and the small local hotels that are benefiting from huge numbers of passengers in transit.