Government targets conferences for revenue

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The Government has set an aim of collecting $451 million in the next physical year through conference tourism.

The announcement was made by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) as they unveiled the hosting of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in 2016 in Kigali.

AHIF brings together the leading international hotel investors in Africa with local operators, ministers, government officials and industry experts, to discuss all aspects of hotel investment and operation in Africa.

The decision to host AHIF in Kigali underlines a clear strategy by the Government of Rwanda to attract investment in the tourism sector. Ambassador Yamina Karitanyi, Chief Tourism Officer at the Rwanda Development Board, said:

“We see AHIF as an excellent platform to meet many of the most important decision makers and investors, who have the power collectively to influence investment in the hospitality industry in Africa.

Rwanda’s tourism sector continues to grow positioning itself as the leading foreign earner for the country. For the financial year 2013 to 2014, the sector registered a three per cent increase in the number of visitors.

These numbers grew from 1.14million visitors to 1.2 million visitors also accounting for an increase in revenue from $293.4m in 2013 to $303m in 2014.

In Rwanda, leisure has been a major driver of Rwanda’s tourism industry. Currently, the country is focusing on Meetings Incentives Conference and Exhibitions/Events (MICE) tourism, capitalising on safety, developed infrastructure, accessibility and new entrants in the hotel industry such as the Marriott, Radisson Blu, Radisson by Park Inn, Sheraton, Golden Tulip, Kempisnki and Zinc, amongst others.

Hosting the AHIF with no doubt will contribute to the growth of Rwanda as a leading MICE destination in the region. Later this year, Rwanda will also host Interpol AGM, World Economic Forum on Africa in 2016 as well as Africa Union Summit in 2016.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman, Bench Events, the company that organizes AHIF and other top international hotel investment conferences, said: “I know of at least three hotel projects in Rwanda that came about as a consequence of a conversation at AHIF.”

By moving to a different African city every couple of years, AHIF will help to showcase high-growth destinations across the continent as a whole. Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events concluded: “The African economic growth story is becoming well-known. At around 5% per annum, it is a multiple of developed economies and that is appealing to the international business community.”

In 2014, the event took place in Addis Ababa and attracted over 500 participants from more than 40 countries who represented over 400 companies. AHIF ’15 will again take place in Addis, at the Sheraton hotel on 30th September – 1st October, where the number of delegates is expected to increase substantially on last year.

 

About the author

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.

More posts by | Visit the site of Ndaka

 

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