Rwanda sets sights on regional market

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Publication Date: 
21 December 2013
Author: 
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome
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Rwanda launches new marketing initiative for East African visitors

(Posted 21st December 2013)

Coinciding with the launch of the common East African tourist Visa on the 01st of January 2014 – this accomplishment largely credited to Rwanda’s nifty diplomacy after being tasked by fellow EAC members Uganda and Kenya to prepare the logistics for it – will the Rwanda Development Board’s Tourism and Conservation Department also unveil their new regional marketing strategy.

Ahead of the 20th anniversary year of the gruesome genocide, and ahead of the 10th anniversary of Rwanda’s celebration of their prized gorillas with the annual Kwita Izina Festival (visit www.kwitizina.org) will the tourism gurus in Kigali take new steps to have East African citizens and expatriates working within the EAC come and visit the Land of a Thousand Hills.

RDB released the following statement to this effect:

Start Quote:

‘Rwanda Development Board Launches Tourism Marketing Program Aimed at East African Community (EAC)

Coinciding with the new EAC Single Visa January 2014 launch

(Kigali, Rwanda) December 20, 2013 – This month the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is launching an extensive new tourism marketing program to promote Rwanda amongst the East African Community (EAC).

The inauguration of the18-month EAC marketing program coincides with the recent announcement at the World Travel Market in London by the governments of Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda introducing the East African single joint visa. The new EAC visa will take effect on January 1, 2014, allowing visitors to travel more freely through the 3 nations with a single and more affordable visa ($100 US).

The EAC marketing program will compliment the visa’s launch through engaging social media campaigns for regional travelers as well as special events and partnership opportunities for tour operators, travel agents, and journalists.

The EAC Marketing Campaign will build on the broad recognition Rwanda is receiving as a top international travel destination. National Geographic Traveler recently selected Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest as one of the top 20 destinations in 2014 for “what’s authentic, culturally rich, sustainable and superlative in the world of travel today.” Condé Nast Traveller lists Rwanda as one of its “Top 10 Destinations to Watch in 2014,” citing the country as Africa’s emerging safari hostpot. Rwanda is the only African destination to be included on the list. G Adventures, an international tour operator, identified Rwanda as one of its five hottest destinations in 2014 for British travelers.

The program will differentiate Rwanda from neighboring destinations by informing EAC nationals, expatriates and international travelers about the country’s extensive nature- and culture-based tourism attractions, while enticing them to add Rwanda’s to their regional circuit or to extend the Rwanda leg of their multi-country itinerary.

Ultimately the program will result in increased visitation and tourism receipts for Rwanda. Tourism is the nation’s largest foreign exchange earner, thus the investment in EAC promotion is important to secure future economic growth.

The EAC Tourism Marketing Program is being implemented with the support of Solimar International, a Washington, DC-based tourism development and marketing firm. They bring extensive international expertise and several years experience working in East Africa.

For more details about tourism in Rwanda visit: www.rwandatourism.com

End Quote

Earlier in the year had NDA – The New Dawn Associates, in collaboration with other partners, RDB and RwandAir organized two major familiarization tours for travel agents, tour operators and selected media representatives to showcase what Rwanda has to offer under the theme ‘Beyond the Gorillas’, giving a comprehensive insight into the wide range of tourism attractions, along the shores of Lake Kivu, the Nyungwe Forest National Park, aka Enchanted Forest, birding areas and the cultural monuments like the King’s Palace in Nyanza, the National Museum in Huye and the newly opened up sites near Ruhengeri where the new kings were being introduced to what the kingship entailed.

The private initiative was also copied by the cooperation between RwandAir and Brussels Airlines, which brought several groups of travel agents and media representatives to Kigali, to get a brief about the highlights of the country but also to sample the inflight services of the two airlines and experience SN’s new cabin layout at the time.

Well done to Rwanda for targeting the regional market with renewed vigour and enthusiasm especially ahead of such a significant year of both reflective commemorations but also celebrations, and a year when the new Marriott Hotel Kigali will open its doors.