Dutch tourists to Rwanda surge by 30%

The number of Dutch tourists to Rwanda increased by 30 per cent between January and September last year, boosting overall European visitors by 6 per cent.

The number of Dutch tourists to Rwanda increased by 30 per cent between January and September last year, boosting overall European visitors by 6 per cent.

Netherlands comes sixth after United Kingdom in terms of tourists to Rwanda.

Rica Rwigamba, Head of Tourism and Conservation at RDB said that the increase is as a result of Rwanda’s constant participation in the Vakantiebeurs, an annual Dutch tourism fair which is held in the Netherlands.

This year’s tourism fair was held in the centrally located town of Utrecht, Netherlands attracting over 130,000 visitors compared to last year’s 122,100 visitors, with hopes that Rwanda’s participation will increase its tourism receipts.

Tourism is Rwanda’s leading foreign exchange revenue earner.

Tourism fetched US$183.2m by the end of the third quarter of 2011, according to provisional statistics from Rwanda Development Board.

“Rwanda started participating in Vakantiebeurs in 2008 following the signing of a five-year contract with the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI), an agency of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Immaculée Uwanyiligira, Rwanda’s Ambassador to the Netherlands said.

RDB, Access Rwanda Safaris, and Amahoro Tours and Abeza Dancers graced the Rwandan Stall that also served the country’s Freshly Rwandan coffee.

She also noted that the increase was boosted by KLM’s opening of routes in Rwanda in 2010 with opening doors in Rwanda with five direct flights per week from Amsterdam to Kigali eased access for Dutch travelers both for business and leisure.

Edwin Sabuhoro, chairman of the Tourism Chamber had earlier told Business Times that rebranding tourism that is set to be launched this year will help diversify tourism such as cultural tourism expected to increase the number of tourists visiting the country.

dias.nyesiga@newtimes.co.rw

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