Kigali, 4 September 2013 - The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) today said Rwanda had collected $142.5 million in tourism revenues and registered 664,729 visitors in the first semester of 2013, an increase of 11% and 14% respectively compared to the same period last year.
Travel to the Volcanoes National Park in Northern Rwanda and gorilla tracking continues to be safe despite incidents further in Rubavu area related to the on-going conflict in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, which have been contained.
Rica Rwigamba, Head of Tourism and Conservation at RDB said: “The increase in tourism revenues and visitor numbers are important in driving economic growth and generating prosperity for all Rwandans. We are working to ensure visitors to Rwanda get value for money and unparalleled tourism experiences. In addition, visitor safety and security in Rwanda’s parks and other tourist destinations continue to be a priority.”
Ms Rwigamba also pointed out that investments in the sector have been boosted by the entry of Park Inn by Radisson and Protea Hotels, who have both signed agreements with developers to run their establishments and are set to be operational by early 2014.
Tourism is Rwanda’s largest foreign exchange earner with $282 million earned in 2012.
WTM announcement on Tuesday 5th November 2013: Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda joint visa launching in 2014
Today, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda made an announcement on the introduction of the East African single joint visa, which will take effect on 1st January 2014. The Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda Ministers and High Commissioner officially made the announcement of the new cross-border visa today at the Rwanda Development Board Stand AF230 at this year’s World Travel Market held annually at the Excel London.
Masai dancers from Kenya and Rwanda cultural troupes were among the entertainment during this launch event.
At present tourists travelling between the neighbouring East African countries must obtain a separate visa for each nation, therefore Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda are partnering in order to simplify travel arrangements for holidaymakers, as well as creating a new brand for the whole region in turn opening up opportunities for joint marketing campaigns.
Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda are three countries famed for their wildlife, which will, through the introduction of a joint visa, boost regional travel, adding value to the tourism product offerings of these countries and highlighting the diversity of East Africa.
The introduction of the single tourist visa is a result of a joint initiative and decisión made by the Heads of State of the respective countries.
The Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda joint visa will cost USD $100 (approximately £60.00). The current cost of a single entry visa for Kenya is USD $50 (approximately £30), for Uganda is USD $50 (approximately £30) and Rwanda is USD $30 (approximately £18).
Mrs Phyllis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce & Tourism Kenya stated ‘Kenya is delighted to be joining hands with its neighbouring nations in a move that will benefit tourists visiting the diverse region and boost our respective tourism sectors. The cross-border visa will support intra-regional travel between the participating countries through new joint marketing and trade opportunities.’
Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities of Uganda Hon Dr Maria Mutagamba, commented: ‘We are proud to invite our future tourists to experience a more accessible eastern Africa region. Visitors to our region will benefit from the new, more convenient multi-nation visa and will see the improvements in security, immigration systems, infrastructure and capacity building that this system brings.’
High Commissioner of Rwanda to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Williams Nkurunziza concludes: ‘Rwanda tourism is a cornerstone of our economy Specifically under thus joint init8iative by our respective Heads of State, Rwanda was chosen to take a lead in the issuance of the single tourist visa. The political will has allowed us today to announce the implementation of a single visa and subsequently one destination in a record time of six months. As a country we believe that we will benefit from increase travellers to the region as well as intra regional movement.
‘with the introduction of our cross-border visa we unite to promote the dramatic and varied landscapes, species and experiences that our nations offer. Through this new partnership our USPs will be highlighted from Kenya’s lions and Rwanda’s Gorillas to Uganda’s waterfalls while we work as one to add value to the regional tourism product overall.’
High Commissioner of Rwanda to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Williams Nkurunziza noted, today, we celebrate another milestone in East African Tourism, the impending transformation of our three markets into one seamless tourist offering through the issuance of a single tourist visa for Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Our three Presidents are strong believers in Regional integration, including in the management of our tourism assets. They changed Rwanda to coordinate the transition to our single tourism visa. Six months later, we are happy to announce the utilisation of this objective. Single visa, one destination.
The High Commissioner further said, Rwanda views tourism as a constant of our economy. We believe the introduction of a single visa strengthens our value proposition as a region, allowing us to eventually promote our dramatic and varied, flora and fauna, our varied landscapes and cultural experience. On a single visa, a tourist can enjoy Kenya’s sandy beaches and majestic lions, Uganda’s waterfalls and magic music, or Rwanda’s rolling hills and rare mountain Gorilla’s. Under this initiative the Tourist is the winner. We seek to provide a smoother and cheaper process that gives you pass to a better banquet of touristic experiences.
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