Rwanda banking on MICE to boost Tourism

The iconic Kigali Convention Centre in Rwanda

Rwanda is banking on Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) to reap more benefits from its vibrant Tourism industry.

Tourism earned the Rwandan economy $340 million in 2015, a 10 per cent increase compared with  revenue generated in 2014.

In 2013, the East African country earned $49 million from the MICE sub-sector.

Last year, the industry got a major boost as a result of high-profile conferences which took place in the capital city Kigali.

Following the success, Rwanda now targets to earn $150 million per year to boost further earnings from  tourism.

At least 20,000 visitors attended events in Kigali, giving the sector a much-needed boost.

Last year, Rwanda hosted 16 big conferences which included the World Economic Forum, the African Union Summit, Transform Africa, the Global Africa Investment Summit and the African Nations Championship.

The opening of the Kigali Convention Centre last year was a game-changer to MICE in Rwanda as it created more room for the hosting of high-level meetings.

Global hotel brands such as Marriott, Radisson Blu and Park Inn also opened hotels in the country offering more accommodation and conference facilities to organisers.

According to data from the Rwanda Development Board, the 27th Africa Union Summit generated an estimated $4.2 million to the economy while $2.4 million was earned from the World Economic Forum.

In a bid to achieve revenue earnings of $150 million per year from MICE, Rwanda targets to increase the number of hotel rooms from the current 8,000 to 13,800 rooms in 2017.

Rwanda has invested heavily in infrastructure including building inter-city roads, renovating Kigali International Airport, facilitating the construction of five-star hotels and the signing of a deal to build Bugesera Airport.

On the other hand, the Government invested in its airline RwandAir to boost international tourist arrivals in the country.

In 2016, RwandAir acquired two new Airbuses and a Boeing 737-800NG, bringing its fleet to 11 aircraft.

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