3-day 41st Annual World Tourism Conference hosted in Kigali

Published on : Wednesday, August 30, 2017

41st Annual World Tourism ConferenceAlthough Africa is blessed with tourist attractions, insecurity remains one of the biggest concerns in its tourism earning. On the inaugural day of the 3-day 41st Annual World Tourism Conference in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi – Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said that violence across the continent is one of the biggest threats to tourism.

“The dynamics of tourism in Africa could be totally different if violence wasn’t a dominant force in some of our countries.” He added that if the continent dealt with the vice in an effective way, tourism would actually see better times.

Referring to Rwanda’s security which has triggered the country’s booming tourism, Kituyi jokingly said, “Even Mountain gorillas have found it easier to live in peaceful Rwanda than in the neighbourhoods.”

Kituyi further said, “Tourism is driven by peace and sometimes peace can be driven by tourism.”

Rwanda is one of only three countries in the world where the critically endangered mountain gorillas live. The gorillas take up to 90% of government revenues from national parks. In 2016, Rwanda earned $404 million from tourism. The target is to raise $444 million in 2017.

“Narratives in African media are not helping tourism. They instead emphasize negatives like terror attacks,” Kituyi said.

He stressed, “Don’t ignore value of African tourists within Africa, it’s the fastest growing group.” According to Kituyi, Intra Africa tourism has grown. “It is 12months, not seasonal – accounting for 44% of total tourism performance.”

Rwanda doing everything to promote tourism. Apparently, Rwandair has embarked on its expansion plans across the continent and beefed up its flights purchasing new planes. The airline is already flying direct from Kigali to London and is planning to launch flights to New York and new Asian destinations, including Guangzhou in China in the near future.


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