At the launch of The Africa Competitiveness Report 2011 in Cape Town, on Friday, Rwanda was recognised for the development of the Tourism sector with earnings from the sector increasing by the year.
Tourism receipts increased by 14 percent in 2010 compared to the year before, boosted by the 666,000 tourists who visited the country.
In the first quarter of this year the tourism industry accounted for US$56 million (Rwf33 billion) in revenues up from US$43 million in the same period last year, indicating further growth to the sector.
According to Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the boom in the sector was mainly occasioned by the launch of Canopy Tourism in Nyungwe National Park.
Coupled with products like bird watching, conference and cultural tourism that have been developed, the sector will continue to yield immediate benefits to the economy.
The number of mountain gorillas has increased by 26.3 percent, over the last seven years and the annual gorilla naming ceremony has continued to attract hundreds of international visitors.
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.
There is no doubt that the sector has registered remarkable progress, however, there is still room for expansion. It is, therefore, important to expand on the existing products while venturing into new areas.
Product and market diversification along with relevant marketing and research, and e-tourism will help to link the country to visitors, hence increasing tourism contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).