Rwanda Convention Bureau
RWANDA HAS PUT measures in place to develop new infrastructures and renovate its existing facilities, particularly in the tourism and conferencing industry. In order to aid this development the Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB) was launched in May, 2014, starting with the purpose of conducting meetings, incentives, conventions, conferences and exhibitions under the tourism department within the Rwanda Development Board. Here, the Bureau explains the exciting developments in place to make Rwanda one of the preferred MICE destinations within East Africa.
Africa Outlook (AfO): Since inception, how has Rwanda Convention Bureau developed and progressed in terms of its key objectives and the messages it tries to get across?
Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB): RCB has played a crucial role in the growth of the economy of Rwanda. Since its beginning, MICE tourism has contributed to the overall tourism receipt as follows: US$29 million in 2014, $38 million in 2015 to $47 million in 2016.
The objective of being a preferred MICE destination in East Africa has been successfully reached by hosting high level conferences such as African National Championship(CHAN), World Economic Forum on Africa, Africa Union Summit, The Global Africa Investment Summit, Africa Hotel Investment and Aviation Development Forum, 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol and so many others. AfO: To this end, how would you say Rwanda has developed in recent years as a business travel hub and what are the key reasons behind its growing appeal?
RCB: Rwanda has developed in a remarkably good way. To emphasise the situation, in 2014, the International Convention and Congress Association (ICCA) ranked Rwanda on the 13th position in terms of a MICE destination’s in Africa. In 2015, Rwanda climbed to the 7th position and now we are proud to see that Rwanda is the third highest ranked MICE destination in Africa, after South Africa and Morocco.
The country has significantly invested in MICE infrastructure with several meeting venues with capacities ranging from 50 to 2,600. In terms of hospitality, a mixture of international
hotels such as Marriott, Park Inn and Radisson BLU has been launched in the past year together with some local hotels brands such as Ubumwe Grande Hotel.
Another key reason behind the growing appeal is that Rwanda offers a high level of safety and security. The World Economic Forum report of 2017, ranked Rwanda as 9th safest country in the world and 1st in Africa. Rwanda is also a clean country located in the central part of Africa with streamlined on arrival visa policies which makes accessibility more lined.
AfO: What is in store for Rwanda over the course of 2017 and beyond to continue the good work already commenced and to enhance its reputation as a tourism and business travel hub further in the future?
RCB: In the coming months, Rwanda will host some important events like Africa Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) which will bring in, a total of more than 1,000 delegates. In addition, meeting venues under construction and ease of access with the opening of new routes by RWANDAIR will allow Rwanda to stay competitive in the market place.
The Rwanda Convention Bureau will also attend renowned exhibitions in the MICE sector such as IMEX Las Vegas and IBTM Barcelona to promote Rwanda as a MICE destination.
AfO: Finally, looking forward, if we were to speak again in three-five year’s time, what progress and development would you hope and expect to be able to report back, both in regards to the Rwanda Convention Bureau as an entity, and in regards to the business travel industry in Rwanda as a whole?
RCB: I hope in three years time Rwanda will have many international hotels brands with meeting and exhibitions facilities which will allow us to host a growing calendar of international events.