Yesterday, Rwanda joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Tourism Day, which falls on September 27. Tourism is the mainstay of the Rwandan economy and currently the highest earner of foreign exchange for the country.
The theme for this years’ World Tourism Day, “the sustainable use of environmental resources and the eradication on extreme poverty” surely resonates in Rwanda.
The country adopted high-end tourism after realising that it is environmentally sustainable and also contributes to the reduction of extreme poverty.
Through tourism receipts, conservation of biodiversity has been possible while the various tourist packages such as community tourism has helped feed many Rwandan families. Tourism has so far generated in the excess of $87.3 million. However, more can be done.
While the tourism authorities based at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) have done a great job in attracting foreign tourist to Rwanda, the efforts in attracting domestic tourism cannot be said of the same.
As the marketing of Rwanda’s tourism attractions continues abroad, concerned authorities should, as well, put focus on the locals. It is not enough to merely make gorilla permits for nationals more affordable, for example. You must make the citizens want to see the mountain gorillas in the first place. Marketing to the local market can, and should be improved, and in this way our tourism receipts will increase.