Tourism Sector Profile in Rwanda

Characteristics of the sector

  • Tourism sector is one of the largest sources of export earnings for Rwanda.
  • Rwanda boasts of tourist attractions including Mountain gorillas, national parks, museums, Lakes, culture and wonderful scenery.
  • Tourism receipts are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10% until 2013.
  • The average spend by a visitor is $200 a day and average length of stay is one week.
  • From January to June 2012, the tourism industry registered projects worth US$ 184.1million. These projects are expected to create 1,328 jobs.

Current situation in the sector

Rwanda’s tourism sector continues to be the largest foreign exchange earner in the country. The continuous growth in tourism is mainly attributed to the country’s security, stability and infrastructure investment over the last 10 years which has attracted visitors. Tourism generated US $281.8 million (Rwf178b) in 2012 compared to US $251.3m (Rwf159b) 2011. This corresponds to an increase of 17%, according to 2012 report from Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

Competitive advantage of the sector

  • Unique assets: It offers tourists a one of a kind journey home to one third of the world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas, one third of Africa’s bird species, several species of primates, volcanoes, game reserves, resorts and islands on the expansive Lake Kivu, graceful dancers, artistic crafts and friendly people.
  • Safe and easy to get around with short distances to diverse destinations
  • Located in the heart of central and East Africa with easy access to bordering countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya.
  • There are 380 hotels and 6500 hotel rooms in Rwanda. For the upper range, average occupancy rate is 70%, with foreigners accounting for 97% of bed nights sold  

Investment opportunities in the tourism sector

  • The regional conference business is booming but Kigali lacks sufficient conference space, the Kigali Conference Centre is at the technical design phase and looking for investors
  • There is room for more 3 star, 4star and 5star hotels both in Kigali and in regional towns of Butare, Gisenyi, Muhazi, Nyanza and Akagera
  • Premium eco-tourism operators are required to widen activity base
  • Construction of a cultural Village in Kigali.
  • Development of boating and water sports on lakes Kivu, Ihema and Muhazi
  • Development of Hot springs in the Western province.
  • Tourism and Hospitality training schools
  • Financial partner for Kigali Convention Centre.
  • Carbon Credit: Opportunities for reforestation to generate the carbon.
  • Develop meetings, conferences and conventions infrastructure and facilities (MICE Tourism).
  • Develop exhibition centres within Kigali and major towns

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