About 700 bird species of Rwanda could contribute 10 per cent of Rwanda’s tourism receipts by 2010
Rwanda’s revenue from tourism is projected to hit $203 million next year, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) officials said recently that the country expects another $200 million from foreign direct investment in the next year.
According to the Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Tourism and Conservation at RDB, Chantal Rosette Rugamba, at least 820,000 visitors are expected by the end of 2010.
Ms Rugamba said this during the unveiling of John Gara as the new RDB boss. Gara replaced Joe Ritchie who is now an adviser to President Paul Kagame.
Figures presented indicate that during the first semester of 2009 the country attracted 440,000 visitors, a 7 per cent rise over the same period the previous year.
The visitors generated over $92 million. Officials also said that the country expects to attract some $11 million from bird tourism by 2012.
There are about 700 species of birds in Rwanda of which 44 are indigenous to the country. RDB anticipates that birding will contribute 10 per cent of Rwanda’s tourism receipts by 2010.
“In the first half of 2009, 43 per cent of the visitors who came to Rwanda came for business. We anticipate that conference tourism will continue to generate considerable revenue in 2010,” Rugamba said.
At the same ceremony, Deputy Chief Executive in charge of business operations at RDB Clare Akamanzi said projected investments for 2010 were recorded at $200m for foreign direct investments.
According to RDB, nine investment projects worth $52.4 million (Rwf 26.2 billion) and able to generate 240 jobs were registered in November.
This represents an increase of 297 per cent from the $13.2 million (Rwf6.6 billion) registered in October 2009.
Akamanzi termed delays in implementation of the planned investments as the biggest challenge this year.
Information availed indicates that in the first six months of this year, investments faced a decline of 10 per cent in the number of projects registered though there was a 50 per cent increase in value of investment projects registered.
According to the World Investment Report 2009, Rwanda registered a dramatic rise in investment inflows this year. The report said the country attracted $16 million in 2006, $67 million in 2007 and $103 million last year.
For the third year running, Uganda led the East African region in attracting FDIs, fetching $787 million in foreign investments in 2008, up from $733 million in 2007 and $644 million in 2006.
Despite the rise in foreign investments, some of Rwanda’s biggest investment attractions were badly hit by the global financial crisis.
Dubai World, a major holding company owned by the United Arab Emirates earlier this year scaled down its investments in the country, preferring to concentrate on two projects out of a handful it had picked.
Almost two years ago, the Middle-East giant had announced that it was to line up an investment worth $230 million (Rwf130 billion) mainly in the hospitality industry with the building of a new 150-room hotel in Kigali on the Kigali Golf Course.
It also promised to re-develop the 18 hole golf course and the golf country club, as well as building townhouses and villas.
Construction on the developments was meant to commence in late 2007 according to a statement quoting the Dubai World Chairman, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem.
However despite “prioritising” particular areas of investment there has not been any mention of commencement of construction since then.
However, two weeks ago RDB said it had not yet received any indication of change of strategy from the previous report that Dubai World had submitted.
RDB is currently being restructured. Mr Gara said the process will lead to a creation of clusters that will focus on policy advocacy in areas that promote the private sector and agriculture as a business industry.
RDB was created by a government’s Organic Law to fast-track development and catalyse economic growth.
It is a merger of a number of agencies, including the investment, tourism and information and technology authorities.