Rwanda’s World Tourism Day celebration 2016 came with a big bang


(Posted 29th September 2016)

Rwanda joined the global community in celebrating World Tourism Day, observed annually on 27th of September, to foster awareness on tourism’s contribution towards economic growth universally but more so on the national level.

The theme this year was: Tourism for All: Promoting Universal Accessibility seeking to promote the creation of a tourism environment that can universally cater for the needs of every individual.

World Tourism Day 2016 was celebrated at a time when Rwanda is looking at several achievements in the tourism industry. Earlier this month, the 12th Kwita Izina ceremony was held where 22 baby gorillas received names, showcasing the country’s conservation success globally. A week long activities were aligned in preparation of Kwita Izina ceremony; the first Conservation Gala Dinner with the aim of raising funds for development of community eco-lodge outside of Akagera National Park and construction of Mountain Gorilla Skeletal sanctuary in Musanze was the first to kick start the week and the event proved to be successful.

The subsequent Tourism and Conservation exhibition saw several key regional and international exhibitors attend, to display their products and services. The two-day Conversation on Conservation forum also highlighted Rwanda’s achievements in conservation and the long-term strategy to engage the private sector and maintain the momentum of increasing tourism revenue.

In the past year RwandAir, the national carrier, has added new routes, the most recent to Cotonou and next week launching Abidjan, bringing the total number of destinations to 18. The airline has also upgraded its fleet with the delivery of the airline’s first ever wide body aircraft, a twin jet A330, timed to take place on World Tourism Day.

The number of visitors to the three major National parks in Rwanda, Akagera National Park, Nyungwe National Park and Volcanoes National Park have meanwhile impressively increased and the revenue incentives have also matured over the past year. Figures reveal that the total revenue generated in 2014 alone was USD305 million and it is projected to grow at a rate of 25% until the year 2018. Gishwati-Mukura is officially the newest National Park in Rwanda as this was signed and gazette in February 2016.

Rwanda continues to celebrate the huge conservation milestone at Akagera National Park especially after the growth of the lion family this year following the birth of several cubs since bringing back the lions in 2015.

Alongside, the hospitality industry has shown great strides with recent entries by internationally renowned hotel giants Marriott and Radisson Blu and the world-class conference facilities, the state of the art Kigali Convention Center and Kigali Convention and Exhibition Village. These new facilities hosted the 27th African Union Summit and the recently concluded Global African Investment Summit.

Ms. Belise Kariza, the Chief Tourism Officer at Rwanda Development Board commented on the countries achievements when she said: ‘Tourism is the most important economic sector in this country and this year the World Tourism Day celebrations provides a unique opportunity to encourage international tourists and challenge locals to visit a tourist site today and discover the beauties of the country while generating more incentives towards the country’s sustainable growth‘.

The World Tourism Day celebrations in Rwanda are scheduled from the 30th September until the 01st October 2016 in the cultural heritage corridor of Huye, Nyanza, Ruhango and Kamonyi Districts where the Domestic Tourism Campaign will be launched alongside these celebrations.

World Tourism Day is an official date set aside in the United Nations Calendar under the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the agency responsible for the promotion of sustainable and universally accessible tourism. The objective of this day is to highlight tourism’s potential in addressing social, cultural, political and economic issues globally especially in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

For further information on Destination Rwanda visit

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