Expedia Incorporated, arguably the worlds largest online travel company, has teamed up with the Rwanda Development Boards Tourism and Conservation Department, to give greater exposure to The Land of a Thousand Hills and widen the marketing reach for the country. RDB hosted a seminar in Kigali earlier in the week Online Travel in Rwanda to make the tourism trade aware of the added options now available to them to find business from overseas through e-Commerce, especially now that secure payment methods can be assured for web based credit card transactions. Ms. Rica Rwigamba, Head of Tourism and Conservation at the Rwanda Development Board, was quoted in a media release sent to this correspondent as saying: Rwanda will gain visibility thus promoting awareness of this country as a top tourism destination as well as a launching pad for global travel. We want to increase receipts which means we have to increase sales. This will be a big boost to Rwandas tourism revenue.
Virtual visits to Rwandas attractions have increased in recent years by several hundred percent, showcasing the attractions of the country around the world but this has also translated into double digit increases of real visitors and the resulting sharp rise in foreign exchange earnings for the country, now standing at well over 250 million US Dollars in 2011.
Participants in the workshop were urged to make use of the new facility, as presently only about a dozen hotels and service providers had signed up with Expedia when the CEO of RDB John Gara addressed the gathering, echoed also by the Chairman of the Rwanda Private Sector Foundations Tourism Chamber who reportedly said: We want to see how we can sell more online, market ourselves and have more tourists coming in to increase competitiveness, tourism revenues and create more jobs for Rwandans.
No quarterly data for the period January to March are officially available as yet but insider information points to once again a double digit rise compared to last year, attributed to the increase in flights, with more coming to Kigali when Turkish Airlines will commence operations to Rwanda by mid May.