Rwanda’s tourism receipts increased by 14 percent to in 2010 compared to 2009, boosted by 666,000 tourists who visited the country.
According to Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the boom in the sector was mainly occasioned by the launch of Canopy Tourism in Nyungwe National Park,
The canopy walkway is the first of its kind in Eastern Africa and the third in Africa. It allows visitors to Nyungwe National Park to view the various species of birds and animals that dwell in the upper parts of the forest.
This, coupled with products like bird watching, conference and cultural tourism that have been developed by the industry, will continue to yield immediate benefits to the economy.
Last year, Rwanda was voted best African exhibitor, for the 4th consecutive time at the ITB in Berlin—the world’s largest tourism trade fair—after it showcased its diversified tourism products, while the 2010 FESPAD attracted over 200,000 local and international spectators during a number of concerts organized countrywide.
This is in line with the strategy to develop and to promote cultural tourism. The number of mountain gorillas has increased by 26.3 percent, over the last seven years and the 2010 Kwita Izina ceremony, where 14 baby gorillas were given names, attracted hundreds of international visitors.
The tourism industry has been a critical sector in economic development; however, there is still room for expansion. Tourism has proved to be one of the country’s areas of comparative and competitive advantage.
It is, therefore, important to expand on the existing products while venturing into new areas that will diversify the tourism portfolio and foster sustainability.