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Rwanda Launches Campaign To Reactivate Tourism After COVID-19 Shocks

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Rwanda has launched a campaign to reactivate tourism after the sector suffered devastating effects as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A tourism exhibition was lunched on Thursday evening in Kigali as part of a tourism week.

The tourism Week 2021 is an initiative that seeks to campaign for recoveries after the shocks incurred by the tourism sector.

Dubbed ‘Rwanda Tourism Week 2021 is the first tourism exhibition event organized by the tourism sector since 2020. The event has attracted participants from Ghana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Kenya, DRC, South Africa and Botswana.

The sector managed to earn US$ 498 million in tourism revenues in 2019 but because of COVID-19 but because of COVID-19, the activities were affected according to Rwanda Development Board.

Zephanie Niyonkuru, the Deputy CEO of RDB, speaking at the event, said, Rwanda continues to provide the required support to the tourism industry to ensure that it continues to recover and attain pre-COVID-19 levels growth levels.

“The tourism sector has significantly suffered from the adverse effects of COVID-19 but the government has also made several interventions entailing to support the sector with dedications of 50% of the economic recovery fund to the hotels that helped them to restructure their loans,” he said.

Citing statistics, he said the tourism sector is a country’s primary contributor to Rwanda’s GDP adding that the sector’s contribution to the economy grew from 4.7% to 15% in the last 19 years (2000-2019), however, that pandemic affected the sector contribution with an economic contraction by 3.4%.

He further said intra-Africa travel is undoubtedly a key booster for tourism recovery on the Africa’s continent but only through tourism leader’s efforts

“The AfCTA, the outcome, the outcome of the African Union Heads of State Summit held in Kigali in 2016 and signed by African countries in 2018, is a valuable instrument to make intra-Africa tourism a reality.” he adds.

When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, Revenues from foreign visitors dropped 35% in the final first quarter compared to 2019. One of the reasons for this decrease in revenues is the international visitors who had stopped coming due to cancellation of meeting and tourists travels.

For instance, in 2020, RDB slashed gorilla permits from US$1,500 uniform price to US$200 for Rwandans and East African Community nationals residing in Rwanda and US$500 for foreign residents as part of promotional efforts to encourage domestic tourists after the decline of international travelers.

Regardless of local initiatives aimed to recover the sector, the region is also launching strategies to recover through events and marketing campaigns. On the same note, the East African Community (EAC) launched a new regional tourism media campaign in Arusha Tanzania as part of the plans to implement the six member’s blocs tourism plan.

The EAC’s branding campaign dubbed Tembea Nyumbai will start on December 1.

The East African Business Council indicates that the tourism sector contributes to the 10% GDP and accounts for 17% of export earnings and about 7 in terms of jobs.

Nonetheless, during COVID-19, 4.2 million foreign tourists were not able to travel to their preferred East African Community destinations.

Read RDB’s Report HERE

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