The Rwandan hospitality industry is bracing itself to welcome thousands of visitors who will start flocking into Rwanda for big conferences every month since February.
Rwanda will in 2018 host at least 22300 visitors coming for 25 international summits that were confirmed by the Rwanda Convention Bureau.
The industry will earn the country $40 million according to an estimation by Rwanda Development Board(RDB).
On average, every month two international conferences will take place in Rwanda, bringing into Rwanda a total of 2000 visitors. Some months like May and November will even have around 4000 visitors.
The summits include several themes like; infrastructure, health, saving, economy, ICT, education, and innovation.
In terms of numbers, Transform Africa summit which is organized by Ministry of ICT and Smart Africa and All Africa Purpose Driven Leadership Congress by Peace Plan Rwanda are the biggest gathering of the year with 2500 participants each.
They will take place in May and October respectively.
The 5th International Conference on Family Planning scheduled for November and the Next Einstein Forum in March are also third and fourth biggest events with 2000 and 1500 participants respectively.
According to the association of hoteliers of Rwanda, this sends a very strong message which they cannot take for granted.
“Though we do not have all details about each and every conference yet, we have already designed a strategy that will allow us to make visitors feel at home and to think about no other country rather than Rwanda when it comes to organizing summits in the future,” Nsengiyumva Barakabuye, president of Hoteliers association of Rwanda told KT Press.
Barakabuye is also the owner of Nyungwe Top View Hotel in Nyamasheke district.
He said that they have set a strategy whereby every big conference will be prepared through association in terms of logistics and workforce.
For example, he said, a couple of weeks before an important summit, we shall meet and see categories of visitors that are expected, hotels that fit to receive them, and then we shall share them in transparency.
“In some context, whenever required, we shall oblige a hotel to hire casual workers who can help serve visitors. Some might also buy new equipment,” said Barakabuye.
In terms of rooms, the association officials said the number has improved tremendously and every visitor can be catered according to their taste and budget.
Rwanda’s tourism industry has grown rapidly in the past few years. The number of hotel rooms and tour operators has grown from 680 hotel rooms and 5 tour companies in 2003 to about 10,000 rooms and 63 tour companies currently registered with Rwanda Tours and Travel Association (RTTA).
Tour Companies also were not left behind. Everyone is working on a big plan to make this year a success.
Wilson Habimana, the owner of Wilson Tour Company told KT Press, that he is designing two new products for Kigali and countryside.
Beside the Kigali city tour, Habimana is organizing a Kigali Night Tour.
“From 7 pm, the tour starts with Kigali lights watching- we have attractive points of view that show the real beauty of the city at night,” he said.
The night tour also includes tasting the local brew including banana beer and Primus, then visit live bands with both traditional and modern tastes.
In Upcountry, Habimana has already mapped 40 islands in Lake Kivu, then Rubavu hot water spring in addition to existing trips to mainstream parks including Nyungwe, Akagera, gorilla trekking – volcanoes, and museums.