Rwanda Business Travel Guide

Rwanda Convention Bureau

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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.

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