Tourism Sector Profile of Burundi

Heart of Africa
Burundi lies almost in the centre of Africa with a shape like a heart. It’s a beautiful country sandwiched between Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda. It is commonly known as the ‘Heart of Africa’ and has wonderful landscapes making the country a real paradise . The country is also sometimes called “The SWITZERLAND IN AFRICA. Burundi offers wonderful views of Lake Tanganyika which is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, after Lake Baikal in Siberia.

Current situation in the sector
The tourism sector is one of the fastest developing sectors of the economy with the total contribution  to GDP of  BIF173.8bn (4.8% of GDP) in 2012, and is forecast to rise by 1.4% in 2013, and to rise by 1.8% pa to BIF211.1bn in 2023.Tourism sector is a foreign exchange earner for the country.

Characteristics of the sector

  • Tourism sector is one of the largest sources of export earnings for Burundi.
  • Burundi boasts of tourist attractions including Mountain gorillas, national parks, museums, Lakes, culture and wonderful scenery.
  • The government of Burundi is giving priority to the development of the local tourism industry
  • The tourism industry in Burundi is serviced by both local and international operators. The capital city is served by international airlines.
  • Investments by the government to upgrade existing infrastructure, especially the road network within the country  continues to attract new investments in the hospitality sector.

The hospitality sector in Burundi no doubt remains one of the largest employers in the country and continues to show signs of strong growth.

Accommodation in Burundi
Accommodation ranges from the more luxurious hotel suites in the city, safari lodges found in and around Burundi’s National Parks. There are also a number mid-range hotels to take care of tourists who may not afford the luxury accommodation.

People and Culture
Burundi’s people have a rich culture that is based on local tradition and the influence of its neighbors.Traditional drumming of karyenda is an important part of Burundian cultural heritage, as indicated by the world-famous Royal Drummers of Burundi. Traditional dance often accompanies the drumming, which is frequently seen in celebrations and family gatherings. Some Burundian artisans have special songs to accompany different stages of their work

Transport in Burundi
Burundi has various means of transport which includes air transport that mainly caters for visitors through Bujumbura International Airport and road transport connecting Bujumbura City to various towns in the country. The country is connected to the neighboring countries by a good road network. There is limited water transport on Lake Tanganyika.

Challenges facing the tourism sector in Burundi
The following are the challenges facing tourism sector in Burundi

  • The weakness of the regulatory and institutional framework for tourism sector
  • Absence of quality standards for tourism facilities
  • Limited number of trained workers in hotels/restaurants/tour operators and of professional guides
  • Lack of tourism training facility in the country
  • Inadequate funding

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