For the Office of Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN), last year was more of success; which is a great move if tourism sector is to partly transform our society.
In her remarks on Radio Rwanda last week, Chantal Rugamba, the director general of ORTPN anticipated more success this year, and 50,000 visitors and $68m are their target.
Like any other income generating institutions, a convincing marketing approach and vivid tourism services/products are needed in this arena of regional competition; remember Rwanda is now a full member of the East African Community.
Hypothetically, Rugamba’s projections are relevant given that last year the body registered 39,000 tourists and $42.3m as total revenue generated.
But in practice, such vocal or paper work estimates need more backings in terms of judicious technicalities to harmonise them with the actual actions on the ground.
Expertise operating mechanism is a prerequisite for on-track accomplishment of such a targeted goal, given that the tourism sector and ORTPN in particular for several years has been faced with inadequate professionals.
However, bridging such a gap of scarcity of specialists in tourism has remained a question whose answer is hard to realise.
Educationalists might attribute it to the need for more trained personnel, but the in-service tourism administrators possibly deliberate and intentionally act beyond that.
The reason is clear; the academic background currently preferred by those behind tourism development in this country are more of scientists than tourism managers.
But this preference seems to contradict what the 2002 restructuring of ORTPN, which stipulates purposeful professionalisation of the organisation’s personnel.
To me, I think it’s tourism professionals to judiciously derive what the national tourism programme is all about, more than scientists who have just general knowledge about the sector.