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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6th March, 2014 Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda made an announcement on the introduction of the East African single joint visa, which took effect on 1st January 2014. The Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda Ministers and High Commissioners and Tourism Board Heads officially graced the launch of the new cross-border visa today at Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda common pavilion at this year’s Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) held annually in Berlin.
The tourist cross-border visa between Kenya,
Kigali, 18 June 2014: Rwanda will celebrate the birth of 18 baby gorillas at the 10th anniversary of Kwita Izina, the annual gorilla naming ceremony. The event will take place in Kinigi, Musanze on 1 July 2014. This was announced today by Ambassador Yamina Karitanyi, the Head of Tourism and Conservation at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). This year’s theme is ‘A Decade: Conserving-Empowering-Growing’.
“On this occasion, we will not only celebrate the birth of one of the world’s most endangered species but also the efforts of individuals, organisations and nations involved in the preservation of these rare animals,” Ambassador Karitanyi said.
She added that “Rwanda’s community led conservation efforts have led to a 26.3% growth in the population of gorillas since 2003 and Kwita Izina has been key to this success. This is also thanks to the Government of Rwanda which has ensured tourism flourishes in a secure and enabling environment.”
Early this year, Kwita Izina won second prize in the UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance. The Rwanda Development Board recognises enhanced national conservation practices and community ownership of projects around the Volcanoes National Park that have seen beneficiaries empowered and their lives improved.
Rwanda’s tourism sector has also been growing remarkably. In 2013, Rwanda hosted 1,137,000 visitors who generated $294m, up from $62m in 2000. This increase is attributed to Rwanda’s attractiveness as a travel destination, new airline routes, especially in West Africa, spearheaded by our national carrier RwandAir, an increase in unique experiences for tourists and the county’s stability and welcoming visa policies.
Kwita Izina will be marked by a series of activities starting with the launch of Basumba Primary School in Bigogwe, Nyabihu District on 26 June 2014. The school of six classrooms has been built with funds from the Shared Revenue Scheme which gives 5% of tourism profits from National Parks back to the communities surrounding the gorilla habitat. This launch will be followed by a mix of conservation, business, cultural and entertainment activities.
Kwita Izina is inspired by the ancient Rwandan tradition of naming babies soon after they are born. In the nine years since the event was established, 161 mountain gorillas have been named in a celebration of nature and the communities who protect the magnificent animals.
Notes to the editor:
Kwita Izina Activities:
26 June: Official launch of Basumba Primary School in Bigogwe, Nyabihu District. The school of six classrooms has been built with funding from the Shared Revenue Scheme. It will enable over 380 children to easily access education facilities.
28 June: Global Umuganda. Participants will have an opportunity to participate in the Global Umuganda. The community work reflects on the culture and commitment of Rwandans to clean and conserve the environment.
28 June: B2B meetings, Serena Hotel, Kigali: This platform will provide an opportunity for local tourism operators to showcase Rwanda tourism experiences to domestic, regional and international markets.
29-30 June: Gorilla Conservation and Community Exhibition at Musanze Stadium. The aim of the exhibition is to showcase what has been achieved in conservation and community empowerment through the 5% revenue sharing scheme.
30 June: Igitaramo (Community Party) in Kinigi is a night of cultural immersion with performances from local dance troupes and musicians.
1 July: Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony at Volcanoes National Park
Key Tourism and Hospitality Facts and Figures:
Rwanda has three National Parks: Akagera National Park, Nyungwe National Park and Volcano National Park.
Rwanda has many unique tourist attractions including the mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, eco-tourism, heritage & leisure experiences.
Rwanda is becoming increasingly attractive for Conference Tourism (MICE); recently hosting the African Development Bank meetings and will host the World Export Development Forum in September, among other events.
In 2010, Rwanda hosted 666,000 visitors who generated US$ 200M - a 14% increase from 2009. In 2013, Rwanda hosted 1,137,000 visitors who generated $294m, up from $62m in 2000.
Tourism receipts are expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 25% until 2017 (EDPRS 2 targets).
Rwanda has over 380 accommodation establishments and approx. 6,500 accommodation rooms. Upper range occupancy rate is 70%, with foreigners accounting for 97% of beds availed.
The rapid growth of RwandAir in addition to other airlines serving Kigali such as KLM, SN Brussels, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines allow for easy access to the country from all over the world.