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    Wednesday, January 24, 2024

    Tourists to Rwanda Nearly Triple in Two Years

    Michel Nkurunziza

    Efforts invested in recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic and doubling the fleet for RwandAir almost tripled tourists coming to Rwanda within two years.

    Speaking during the National Dialogue-Umushyikirano, on January 23, 2024, Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente said the number of tourists to Rwanda increased from 521,000 in 2021 to 1.4 million in 2023.

    "RwandAir resumed flights after Covid-19 pandemic and opened new routes to different destinations including Paris, London, Doha, and others. RwandAir also launched services to transport cargo. This played a big role in increasing visitors coming to Rwanda, after Covid-19 pandemic, from 521,000 in 2021 to 1.4 million tourists as of September last year [2023]. This was a drastic increase within 18 months," he said.

    "Government will continue to invest in RwandAir to improve its operations and increase its capacity," Ngirente said.

    The national carrier expects to double its fleet to 25 planes over the next five years to better connect underserved markets in Africa and boost the continent's reach to global destinations, including the Middle East.

    Ngirente said that with the aim to boost the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) sector, Rwanda hosted big international events such as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2022, FIFA Congress, Women Deliver Conference, and others.

    "In partnership with the private sector, the government will continue to increase infrastructure to boost tourism and facilitate hosting of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) events in the efficient way you [President Kagame] have requested of us," he added.

    As revealed by Frank Murangwa, Director of Destination Marketing at Rwanda Convention Bureau, in 2023, Rwanda generated a record $91 million from 157 summits and events that attracted over 67,000 delegates.

    The impressive feat not only underscores the sector's post-pandemic recovery but also positions it as a pivotal force propelling Rwanda towards sustained economic development.

    The sector contributed $64 million to the economy in 2022, making last year's performance a significant leap forward.

    Rwanda generated $247 million from tourism in the first half of 2023, a 56 per cent increase compared to $158 million in the same period in 2022.

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