Africa: Tourism destination forging ahead in Rwanda
Rwanda is known as the country of a thousand hills. The country spread out in folds of undulating hills and mountains covered by lush green foliage. It boasts of a very mild weather that is punctured by rain cloud and rains with a very welcoming people.
Gradually, Rwanda is gathering fans among adventure travellers who are looking for a new experience different from safari that is offered by South Africa, Kenya and the others. The highland gorillas of volcanoes mountains in Ruhengeri, northern Rwanda offers a new thrill and new experience.
Gorilla trekking is a new unique offering by Rwanda. There are other sites like the Genocide Memorial Museum in Kigali. There are a thousand and one adventures to explore. Nigerian travellers are now seeing the country as a new travel destination.
Cecile Mambo, the managing director of CMD Tours, is one of those currently packaging different tours to Rwanda.
She talked about the adventure and leisure options available in the country:
“When we talk about Rwanda, the first thing that comes to mind is the genocide. I had a chat with the Rwandan Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Stanislas, and he was trying to sell Rwanda to me.
“He was telling me all that they have there. I also had a meeting with the President, Rwandan Residents’ Association in Nigeria came to us because we are a travel agent. He came to ask and asked why we did not package Rwanda. I was like apart from the genocide museum, what else? Who wants to go there, I asked. He advised me to try and go there. He said even Ellen deGeneres has been to Rwanda. That made me to be interested in going. I said to myself that if somebody who is based in the United States could go there, I could equally. It means there is something to see. I decided to go.
“When I got there, I was really amazed by what I saw. It was completed different from my perception. I stayed at Radisson Blu and …. Radisson was the highest of luxury. It was everything beautiful. We started our tour a day after I got there. We went to Lake Kivu in Ribavu Region of the country. When we got there, the resort was amazing. Everything was perfect: they were friendly and well trained and the ambience was superb. They have a hot spring lake from an active volcano in Congo.
“According to the indigenes, the spring has medicinal values. “From there, we went to Akagera Park. That place also blew my mind. There were wild animals in there natural habitat: lions, giraffes, antelopes and so on. It was an amazing experience.”
Kigali, the Rwanda capital, is gradually emerging as Africa’s leading convention destination. It has hosted the African Union summit in 2016 and top corporate conventions. The city has become a go-to in terms of high profile events and conferences. One hotel among others in the capital that is making this happen in Kigali is the newly built Radisson Blu Hotel and Convention Centre located at the heart of the city. It is a kind of one-stop venue that provides end to end facilities for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE).
Denis J. Dernault, the Complex General Manager talked about what has made Kigali the leading conference venue for Africa: “One of the very important factors here is the ease of doing business which has been facilitated by the authorities. In addition to that is the fact that every citizen of the world can enter the country without pre-requesting visa.
“That is one of the key factors for people who are into MICE. That is one of the elements which is very important. The second is that as a businessman when you travel, it is important as well to ensure that the destination that you are going to is secure. This is another area that Rwanda is doing very well.
“The third factor is that we have an airport which is going to be opened shortly, in about a year and half. So, it is to ensure that air connectivity is there and benefits the most potential market. That is very interesting , it ensures that the venue we have here, the Radisson Blu and Convention Centre, Kigali are having the best benefits from these factors.”
He talked about the conference facilities available in Radisson Blu Kigali that made it a hit: “ I think the first one is quality. We have been tested; we’ve had high profile events and we know we can deliver. For those in this type of business know that in Rwanda, whatever you are doing, you will have these quality factors, responding to your occasion.
“The second thing is that we have a facility which is highly flexible. We have the facilities to organize from small to large events. These are some of the things I believe give us an edge. Also, with the number of meeting rooms that we have, the number of exhibition spaces that we have. These give us the flexibility to organize any kind of event.
“Adding to that, we have, in terms of technology, very little that the convention centre can offer in terms of internet by fibre, that we can’t offer here. We have a facility that can cater for over 20,000 devices at the same. So, that is very important in the connected world that we are today. Here, there is a focus on the new technology. That puts us really at a place where an organization that if they want a meeting which are highly connected…as we have done before, if we refer to the Montreal Protocol, which was a paperless meeting. We can deliver on all these.”
For all kinds of tourists, Rwanda is gradually the preferred destination.
By: OKORIE UGURU