The 20 percent discount is likely to further drop to 50 percent in low season
As the West grapples with the financial crunch, Rwanda is targeting to attract regional visitors by offering a 20 percent discount on hotel room booking.
The proposal is from the National Tourism Office in the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in collaboration with the Private Sector Federation (PSF) through its tourism chamber, which is protecting the industry’s revenue from dropping due to the prevailing current global crisis.
In an interview, the Director of Tourism in RDB, Emmanuel Werabe said that the proposal should be implemented by next month.
“Having 20 percent discount on hotel room booking is another way of attracting the regional clientele, especially from East African Community (EAC) as we expect low tourist inflow from Europe and America,” he said.
The 20 percent discount will be applied to EAC members, with a likelihood of dropping to 50 percent in low season. Before, hotel room booking cost the same for all clients.
A radio programme to sensitise Rwandans to know more about their country through focal point persons in all 30 districts is another strategy to attract domestic tourism.
Although the RDB tourism office have not registered a fall in tourist arrivals, information from tour companies says that visitors have been few and negotiating prices a move that did not happen in the past years.
“The drop might be there but we don’t have figures and our bookings for high season (July and August) are full,” Werabe said.
Recently, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announced that the industry will recover and be stronger than ever in spite of the hit which is taking in the current global economic crisis. It expects international tourism to stay even or fall by up to 2 percent this year.
The Americas and Europe are expected to be impacted most, while Asia and the Pacific, as well as Africa and the Middle East, will find growth easing in 2009.