Rwanda targets $150m next year from conferences, up from $49m

Rwanda launches initiative to promote conference tourism

The Rwanda Development Board has launched a new initiative codenamed MICE- an acronym for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) aimed at focusing on the improvement of the service sector.

The National MICE strategy is in line with diversifying the current tourism product offering while complimenting existing gorilla tourism, eco-tourism, cultural and community based tourism that are the mainstays of Rwanda’s economy.

With the implementation of MICE tourism, tour operators, hotels, restaurants, professional conference organisers and event managers; who make up part of the nationwide tourism value chain,  will be required to create enhance their product offering  to service delegate demands and make their services reach international standards.

Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB), the RDB’s Head of Department for Tourism and Conservation Ambassador Yamina Karitanyi said that the economic potential of the MICE sector for Rwanda is immense.

“Total revenues based on MICE tourism in 2013 were $49 million. This   is projected to triple to $150 million in 2015, which is 16 percent of all national export earnings and 34 percent of the overall tourism receipts.” She said.

With a robust, but yet to grow service sector, Rwanda’s tourism sector has continued to record impressive growth over the last 5 Years. Rwanda achieved growth of 12 percent, far above the global average of 3 percent to 5 percent.

In a related development, Rwanda will from May 19 to 23 host a high-level continental gathering in Kigali that is expected provide both opportunities and logistical challenges for the country’s service sector which highly needs an improvement in customer care.

Rwanda’s share in the international meetings, incentives, conferences and events industry is presently minimal. The country apparently looses at least $40 million in tourism through poor customer care annually.

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Olive Ndaka is the Junior Editor for RwandaEye. An investor and young entrepreneur, she is a quick learner and has contributed many articles for RwandaEye in Kinyarwanda.

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