If you searched about events in East Africa at a time, Kenya wouldn’t miss appearing on the top list. But presently things have changed that when you talk about events, Rwanda is ever in lips of many! A number of events were conducted in 2009 alone and more are still to take place and one may wonder what makes this landlocked country a true hub for events.
What is unique about Rwanda’s events is that if one thought of events perhaps what runs first to their mind probably regional or international events but amazingly, you will be surprised to see something unique. If you googled it out, the like events that never miss featuring on the top list include the Kwita Izina sand Miss Rwanda, to a mention but a few.
The Kwita Izina is one of a kind events in the Land of a Thousand Hills. It has been transformed and also accorded international touch and for many years, it attracted international celebrities as well as globally acclaimed conservationists. This event is always conducted every year where newly born baby gorillas are given names.
This is mainly done as a way to aid the monitoring activities of individual gorillas and their families in their natural habitat. It was an initiative that aimed at attracting the attention of locals and the international world to embrace the significance of mountain gorilla conservation and protection not only in the Rwanda Volcanoes National Park but also other gorilla habitats such as Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Parks; the best destinations for gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda.
On the other hand, Miss Rwanda has equally received its fair share of backlash although the organizers have done their best to market it in a different way. Around 2009, a handful of players who described themselves as value-driven firms specializing in production and management of events had little to contribute to the sector.
It was the same year that Rwanda was admitted under the Edinburgh Criteria as the second member of the Commonwealth of Nations without any historical ties to the United Kingdom. After like 10 years, the landscape absolutely changed whenever many talk about this magical country.
As per the coming Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting due to take place in 2020, Rwanda is to be a host just after a few years when it was admitted to the club of nations of which most of them are former British colonies. This is a small portion of a huge strategy adopted by the government to make Rwanda a meeting and conference hub famously called Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE).
Compared to other years, this year alone a significant difference was registered in the conference tourism. Incredibly, Rwanda hosted some of the major events which attracted thousands of participants that earned the nation a huge amount of dollars. Around May 2018, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) ranked Rwanda the 3rd most famous destination in Africa for accommodating international meetings and events.
Based on Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB), over 201 events were hosted in 2018 alone. They included among others the Extra-ordinary African Union Summit and the Next Einstein Forum, Mo Ibrahim Good Governance Meeting; SWIFT African Regional Conference; Africa Green Revolution Forum and GSMA Mobile 360 Africa.
Besides, the annual YouthConnekt Africa Summit and the 5th International Conference on Family Planning was also hosted in Rwanda and it attracted several of international delegates. In 2018, over $52 million about Rwf45.5 billion was generated in 2018 and in addition to this, a lot of multiplier effects was also seen in other sectors.
The best example is the involvement of RwandAir the fact that most delegates use it to take flights into Rwanda. The entertainment sector is another best example where conference and major meetings have enabled Rwanda’s show business to grow.
For instance, the big summits which occurred like the Transform Africa Summit, the YouthConnekt and Family Planning summit. About $52 million was collected from the conference tourism which indicates that the government is on the right track to achieve its targeted revenue of $74 million prior end of the financial year 2018/2019.
However, the government still seeks to continue attracting big conferences and meetings and to achieve this, there is need to involve the private sector. According to the CEO, there was growth in the hospitality industry both in terms of infrastructure and high-end service. The Rwanda Convention Bureau, therefore, plans to coordinate with the local institutions and organizations plus embassies abroad in identifying meetings, events, exhibitions that should be attracted into the country.
Rwanda has capitalized on meetings and conferences mainly to provide offers to delegates visiting the country, access to engaging in other tourism activities like mountain gorilla trekking as well as wildlife excursions in national parks. These tourism products have continuously attracted tourists worldwide and as per Akagera National Park-Rwanda’s only savanna grassland protected area, it is believed that it has already exceeded its targets. Sarah Hall-the park’s marketing manager added that about 39490 visitors were registered.