As Rwanda joins celebrations to mark the World Tourism Day (WTD), the Rwanda Development Board, has embarked on a campaign to promote domestic tourism under the theme “Tourism-it begins with YOU.”
The global theme is “Tourism – Linking Cultures, an opportunity to highlight tourism’s role in bringing the cultures of the world together and promoting global understanding through travel.
The national theme aims at encouraging Rwandans to visit parks and other tourist attractions.
The national celebrations to mark the Tourism Day will be held at Nyungwe National Park.
As part of the celebrations, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) organised an event to raise awareness among the local community by encouraging them to appreciate, visit and enjoy Rwandan tourism destination attractions.
According to Rica Rwigamba, the Head of Tourism and Conservation at RDB, part of this year’s celebration will be a guided tour of Nyungwe forest featuring 24 winners of a recent radio quiz.
The winners will today visit the park, a leading tourism destination renowned for its glamorous Canopy Walk coupled with the beauty and diversity of Nyungwe forest.
“A Radio Quiz Program was organised and aired on two local radio stations – Radio Rwanda and Contact FM. Selected tourism related questions were asked and listeners answered them through live phone-in programs,”
“The theme ‘Tourism-it begins with YOU’, was chosen to encourage Rwandans to explore and enjoy the country’s attractions and not consider tourism as a foreigner’s concept.”
RDB CEO John Gara, said that as the world marks this significant day, achievements in the Rwanda tourism sector are also celebrated.
“As we see increased flights into the country and other investments which increase international tourist numbers, we do want to see an increase in domestic tourism as well,” Gara stressed.
“We do, however, remain conscious that there is still a lot to do to improve and sustain the growth in a sustainable manner.”
In 2010, Rwanda earned US$ 200 million from tourism revenues, an increase of 14 percent compared to the previous year.
The double digit growth was also noted in the first half of 2011. For the first semester, Rwanda hosted 405,801 visitors, a 27 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
The visitors generated revenues estimated at US$ 115.6 million, compared to almost US$ 90.6 million generated last year during the same period, representing a 28 percent increase.
Tourism facilities, particularly hotels and restaurants, were amongst the most significant investments registered in the first half of 2011, amounting to US$ 69.3 million.