Kigali, May 13th, 2014 – The tourism sector in Rwanda has continued to record impressive growth over the last 5 Years. Rwanda achieved growth of 12%, far above the global average of 3% to 5%. In order to accelerate this growth, a new strategy for the sector focusing on the area of meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) has been developed and is being implemented.
Speaking at an event to introduce the MICE strategy and the Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB), the RDB’s Head of Department for Tourism and Conservation Ambassador Yamina Karitanyi said that; “the economic potential of the MICE sector for Rwanda is immense. Total revenues based on MICE tourism in 2013 were US$49m. This is projected to triple to US$ 150m in 2015, which is 16% of all national export earnings and 34% of the overall tourism receipts.”
While leisure tourism remains a vital part of the national tourism strategy, business tourists have been shown to spend up to three times more than leisure visitors. Rwanda’s share in the international meetings, incentives, conferences and events industry is presently minimal. International Conference and Congress Association’s (ICCA) latest research ranks Rwanda as 21st in Africa. The Rwanda Convention Bureau is a destination marketing arm whose sales and marketing plan is destined to see Rwanda enter Africa’s top 10 by the year 2016. With this growth in MICE tourism , Tour Operators, Hotels, Restaurants, Professional Conference Organisers (PCO’s) and Event Managers, - who form part of the nationwide tourism value chain, will be required to create enhance their product offering to service delegate demands.
Tremendous efforts have been exerted on availing infrastructure and investment in new international meeting, conferencing and accommodation products, the iconic Kigali Convention Centre and the development of transport links through Kigali International Airport. In addition, Bugesera International Airport, a new World Class airport is planned which will provide extra capacity for passenger transport and cargo freight.
In addition, Rwanda offers soft infrastructure such as biodiversity, city management, peace building and reconciliation as well as gender and health making it a role model for the respective themes.
The National MICE strategy is in line with diversifying the current tourism product offering while complimenting existing gorilla tourism, eco-tourism, cultural and community based tourism that are the mainstays of Rwanda’s economy. The Rwanda Convention Bureau has a stand and will be introduced to the global meetings and incentives marketplace at next week’s IMEX International Meetings Exhibition tradeshow in Frankfurt as Africa’s newest Convention Bureau.