Operators optimistic as Kigali hosts African tourism exhibition

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Operators optimistic as Kigali hosts African tourism exhibition
Operators optimistic as Kigali hosts African tourism exhibition

Africa-Press – Rwanda. More than 50 tourism businesses and over 100 private exhibitors from the African continent have convened at the Kigali Serena Hotel to showcase their products during the Rwanda Tourism Week that started on Wednesday November 24.

Organized by the Rwanda Chamber of Tourism in collaboration with other partners, the week-long exhibition has attracted exhibitors from countries including Tanzania, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Somalia, Botswana, Kenya and DR Congo, among others.

It is being held under the theme; “Rebuilding Tourism for Sustainable Growth” and will aim at boosting the confidence within the tourism sector which has arguably been worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Measures that were instituted to contain the spread of the virus including lockdowns, border closures and suspension of air travel among others, which greatly hurt the tourism sector.

Frank Gisha Mugisha, Director General of Rwanda Chamber of Tourism said that they expect the week to bring together different key players from the tourism sector and put efforts together to recover from the losses brought by the pandemic.

“In particular this event has brought together more than 10 African countries, and this will aim at promoting African tourism and learn from each other on how to do it” he said.

Marry Francis Masanja, Deputy Minister of Natural resources and Tourism in the United Republic of Tanzania, said: “this exhibition will help us share experiences but also find solutions to the tourism problems our countries commonly face.”

“The aim is to build regional tourism where we can have tourists visiting not just our two countries but other African countries as well,” she added.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, Zephanie Niyonkuru, Deputy Chief Executive of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), commended the strong resilience the tourism sector has shown and their efforts in coming up with solutions like the exhibition, to keep going despite the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Niyonkuru added that the government is ready to keep supporting the tourism sector in recovery, and urged the members of the private sector to participate in regional tourism and extend affordable tourism packaging to other countries as well.

Marie Aimée Umugeni, General Manager of Nyamirambo Women’s Centre, and a participant in the event said that the exhibition is giving her a chance to show that “the doors are still open”.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic it was hard to work but we are back and we will not only showcase our products but also to show other African countries how we are going forward despite the challenging times” she said.

Located in Nyamirambo suburb in Nyarugenge District, Mugeni’s company sells art craft and apparel handmade by women which are mostly loved by foreign tourists. The company also teaches tourists different activities including cooking traditional Rwandan food and weaving baskets.

Meanwhile, there are different activities planned during the Tourism Week including a Restaurant Week, where visitors and locals can enjoy traditional food and drinks from various restaurants in Kigali.

There will also be a Photo Competition, engaging professional and amateur photographers to share photos depicting interesting tourism sceneries and locations around the country.

Finally, there are city-wide tours and excursions dubbed “Explore Kigali” during which visitors and local residents will get the opportunity to tour various locations and explore the city.

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