Rwanda is hoping to push tourism beyond its most famous visitor attraction - its mountain gorillas. Rica Rwigamba, the Rwanda Development Board’s head of tourism and conservation, said that gorilla-tourism is at around 90 percent of capacity, but that the country has a lot of other products and experiences to offer.
“Yes, come for the gorillas, but what else will you do after that? We have so much more than mountain gorillas,” she said.
There are already signs of visitors staying longer in the country, she said, with tour operators bringing in seven or 10-day packages to the country instead of three or five-day “add-ons”.
New areas of the country are to be promoted to tourists, crucially Nyungwe national park in south-west Rwanda.
The Mantis Group, which owns several luxury properties and game reserves around the world, opened Nyungwe Forest Lodge in the park in March of this year.
While nature remains a key attraction, Rwanda is looking to promote its cultural heritage more heavily to tourists.
“We’d like to show people not just genocide effects, but Rwanda’s history before colonialisation, and before the genocide,” she explained.
KLM began flying from Amsterdam to Rwanda via Nairobi on November 1, which Rwigamba said was giving much needed competition to Brussels Airlines.