Rwanda tourism revenues climb, eyed by airlines


Rwanda’s tourism revenues in the eight months to August rose 32 percent against the previous year to $173 million and a growing number of foreign airlines are flying to its capital, Kigali, the development board said.

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB), which is re-branding the central African nation’s tourism industry, targets total tourism revenues of $216 million for the year.

Rwanda’s misty valleys and mountain gorillas are a growing magnet for visitors, as the genocide-scarred nation seeks to rebuild its image abroad.
“From January to August 2011, we hosted almost 593,000 visitors. Comparing the same period in 2010 this corresponds to an increase of 28 percent. The increase in visitors is probably the reason tourism revenue receipts increased by 32 percent,” Rica Rwigamba, head of the RDB’s tourism department, told Reuters.

Turkish Airlines and South African Airlines have both announced new routes to the land-locked coffee producer and Dutch carrier KLM and Belgium’s SN Brussels already operate routes into the country, Rwigamba said.

Tourism is one of Rwanda’s top foreign exchange earners, and has been left restively unscathed by the woes in the euro zone, one of its main source markets, Rwigamba said.

British visitors for the period were up more than 40 percent on last year, RDB data showed, accounting for 12 percent of the non-African market.