Rwanda tourism industry eyes Asia market

Rwanda Development Board has for the first time participated in ITB Asia, one of Asia’s leading travel trade shows that was hosted last week in Singapore.

Organised by Messe Berlin, the show that was held at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre in Singapore also marked the 10th anniversary for ITB Asia, according to a statement.

Being one of the experts within the travel trade industry worldwide, Rwanda Development Board in partnership with High Commission of Rwanda in Singapore exhibited the different opportunities available in the country’s tourism sector.

The show took place between October 25 and 27.

According to the statement, Rwanda’s participation opened opportunities for major Asian tourism stakeholders who later expressed interest in initiating collaborations and partnerships towards promotion of high-end packages to Rwanda.

Also, the participation is expected to boost the rising number of visitors from Asia and Australia and to further introduce Rwanda to new emerging markets, especially for high-end and MICE visitors.

Key speakers during the show included Lucas J Murenzi from the High Commission, Khassim Bizimungu from Rwanda Development Board and Jacqui Sebageni, the Managing Director of ‘Thousand Hills Africa’.

Thousand Hills Africa is a tour operator with operations in Rwanda.

Murenzi emphasised the determination by the Government of Rwanda to promote tourism and wildlife conservation that has led to a sharp and steady increase in the numbers of visitors to Rwanda as well as tourism revenues.

On the diversity of tourism attractions and potential in Rwanda, Sebageni said that besides the flagship gorilla trekking experience, Rwanda offers a variety of other attractions in wildlife, culture and people experiences as well as MICE visitors.

She further highlighted the beauty of Rwanda’s nature and the energy of its people.

Bizimungu stated that a solid foundation has been laid at ITB Asia.

“These three days have been very fulfilling for me as a representative of Rwanda at ITB Asia. We have managed to establish business contacts with people who have shown genuine interest in selling and promoting Rwanda,” he said.

Mrs Sebageni echoed similar sentiments: “ITB Asia has been a great success for me, as it has introduced me to this interesting, lucrative and high-growth potential market that is Asia. We found people curious and interested in Rwanda, and once they heard what we had to offer, they became even more interested. I believe we can grow the numbers from Asia and Australia quite significantly.”

Regarding efforts in conservation, like protecting endangered species and the re-introduction of Black Rhinos and Lions to Akagera National Park, Bizimungu shared RDB’s strategy of focusing on eco-tourism and involvement of local communities in the program that has so far been very fruitful. 

Rwanda and Tunisia made their debut at ITB Asia joining Kenya Tourism Board and other African exhibitors from Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Sudan.

ITB Asia’s statistics states that the African market has shown an exceptional growth of 25% at this year’s show.