Tourism in Rwanda is rapidly increasing since the genocide that took place in 1994.
1.1: General introduction
Tourism in Rwanda is rapidly increasing since the genocide that took place in 1994.
The country is full of history and natural beauty.There are many interesting sights to see, with many guided tours to choose from.Each tour group is led by an experienced guide that specialises in teaching others about the landscape and wildlife of Rwanda.
There are plenty of expeditions to places like volcanoes, waterfalls and rainforests which are home to many different African animals. Rwanda is home to a huge diverse population of animals including gorillas and the largest natural park for Hippos – some 20,000 are believed to be there. Although Rwanda is still a developing country it has quite a few hotels and its new international interest in tourism is giving it a comeback.
Tourism is regarded as the fastest growing industry in the world. Rwanda was identified at the World Investment Conference in Geneva (WAIPA, 2005) as one of the countries in east Africa with a significant potential for developing tourism. Rwanda is a low income, landlocked and densely populated country in Africa. Tourism provides the best alternative for economic development to Rwanda which does not have mineral resources unlike most African countries. The development of tourism can contribute a lot to this country through reduction of the level of poverty, creation of job opportunities as well as contributing to the national income. However, the tourism industry in Rwanda is still in its early stages due to the 1994 war. Most of the parks re-opened in 1998/1999, and still concentrate on low volume of tourists. Until now Rwanda is not recognised among the known tourist destinations in Africa; it is believed to be a less developed place for tourists. This study presents barriers to tourism development in Rwanda as perceived by domestic and international tourists as well as workers in the tourism sector of Rwanda. The study was conducted in the four provinces of Rwanda and the capital city, Kigali. A quantitative design using two cross-sectional questionnaires was utilised to establish the opinions of the participants. A sample of 426 participants, including 68 international tourists, 182 domestic tourists as well as 176 workers in the tourism sector was selected to participate in the study.
1.2: Background to the study, history of Tourism in Rwanda
Rwanda is country that used to be situated in Central Africa and now joined East Africa among the rest of the common wealth countries. According to the research from the tourist board of Rwanda which is RDB (Rwanda Development Board) suggests that ‘’Rwanda is popularly known as ‘the land of a thousand hills’ because of its many tourist attractions. The landscapes in this green country are truly incredible. A lot of people who had the chance to visit Rwanda have remarked the country as unique on the African continent. From East to West; and North to South, that you get to discover one of the God’s best creations with a holy climate’’.
Rwanda is a small East African country, that draws visitors from all over the world, primarily to see its rare mountain gorillas. Rwanda faced a horrible genocide in 1994 which still has not been forgotten, the memorial museum in Kigali is a “must-see”. On the surface ‘’and highly encouraged by officials’’ the locals have decided to move on to better things, and now the country is seen to be peaceful and safe destination for visitors. Rwanda’s infrastructure is has improved a lot, since they were destroyed during the war. Most of the roads are paved which makes it easy to get around. The country has banned plastic bags and it certainly has kept it cleaner.
Rwanda has shown strong responsibility in order to promote the tourism sector; the government developed a clear tourism master plan strategy which will help to market the destination successfully, they also involved the private sectors in the policy and in general improved the country’s business environment. The key factors and their role were to ensure that tourism becomes the main source of income/economy towards the government.
Rwanda at glance.
Country What is made of?
Official languageKinyarwanda, French, English
PresidentH.E Paul Kagame
Area26,338 km squared
Source: (Rwanda Development Board)
Chat 1: Map of Rwanda.
Source: (the holocaust centre, 2008)
1.3: Rwanda’s Tourism Economy
Rwanda is a poor rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in mainly subsistence agriculture. It is the most densely populated country in Africa and is landlocked with few natural resources and minimal industry. Primary foreign exchange earners are coffee and tea. The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda’s breakable economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and battered the country’s ability to attract private and external investment. On the other hand, Rwanda has made significant progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy to pre-1994 levels, although poverty levels are higher now. GDP has rebounded and price increases has been restrained. Despite Rwanda’s productive ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with population growth, requiring food imports. Rwanda continues to receive substantial aid money and obtained IMF-World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative debt relief in 2005-06. Rwanda also received Millennium Challenge Account Threshold status in 2006. Kigali’s high defence expenditures have caused pressure between the government and international donors and lending agencies. Energy shortages, insecurity in neighbouring states, and lack of passable transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap development.
Rwanda’s economy still may be small and predominantly agricultural, but in recent years, with political stability, it has posted an impressive 9.9% GDP growth rate at the same time reducing inflation to 3.2% and currency depreciation to merely 6.5% per annum. Foreign exchange controls have been liberalized and the banking system is sound and successful. According to RDB mission statement or rather vision for the economy of the country, there vision for 2020 objective for combating poverty, Rwanda is embarking on a complete program of privatization and liberalization with a goal to attaining rapid and sustainable economic growth.This goal is to transform the economy from its 90% dependence on subsistence agriculture into a contemporary, largely based economic engine which they think will be welcoming to investors, creating employment and new opportunities which will benefit mostly the locals.
1.3.1: Is Tourism a key factor in the Rwandan Economy?
Tourism is one of the key factors in the whole of the country’s economy but like other sectors, tourism was affected by the genocide 1994 but it is starting to experience a explosion due to the government’s new approach to work together with neighbouring countries which has an impact on the locals and the government.
1.3.2: What is Rwanda’s main source of income?
Rwanda is a rural country with about 90% of the population occupied mainly in subsistence agriculture. Subsistence means that people farm enough for themselves to live with the farmed agriculture but however not have enough to make income out of it and enjoy the luxury item that are taken for granted in the west. As Rwanda is landlocked, it has few natural resources and minor industry.
1.4: Aims and Objectives
To assess the strategies that are undertaken by the Government in order to increase tourism in Rwanda.
To assess the role of Gorillas and its contribution toward the economy of Rwanda.
To recommend on possible strategies in relation to the destination.
2.0: Literature Review
Strategic planning is the set of processes that is undertaken in order to develop a variety of strategies that will contribute towards achieving the organizational direction. A wide range of definitions of strategic planning and models have been expressed within this literature review. Strategic planning is defined as a process that enables an organisation to obtain its goals and objectives. There are five general steps in the strategic planning process: goal/objective setting, situation analysis, alternative consideration, implementation and evaluation” (Crittenden and Crittenden, 2000).
It has also been suggested by Robertson (1995) 199 that tourism companies/businesses which are behind manufacturing firms are in the use of strategic planning. Tourism organisations are to be no less important to the environmental threats than manufacturing organisations, it has been assumed that strategic planning are procedurally adopted by tourism companies and are of equal sophistication to those who used are by manufacturing organisations. Tourism researchers argue that tourism firms/organisations are mostly vulnerable to the environmental threats; this is however a study that was conducted by Rovelstad and Blazer who reports that tourism organisations wait behind manufacturing organisations in the strategic planning efforts.
According to the finding of information in this journal, Robertson keeps on suggesting that people who set strategies view their products and their competitors’ products from the perspective of an objective outsider; he also suggests that it was argued that there are two types of externally orientated planning: which are strategic planning and strategic management. Therefore this means that when an a certain organisation views its external orientated planning, they allocate different resources to the programmes to achieve its business objectives in a self-motivated environment which therefore separates management function, then it is generally referred to as strategic planning. But on the other hand, if externally orientated planning is viewed as an integral part of the management function, it is then generally referred to as a strategic management.
It’s been established that the marketing strategies to be used by organisations should be able to target overseas visitors, Taylor L, Allardyce M and Macpherson N (1992) 52 also suggest that it important to recognise the influencing variables which may in the long run have an affect towards the tourism product choices that maybe offered to these tourist coming from abroad. The above authors keep on suggesting that identification of motivating factors is not always straight forward and can conclude the main factors in an organisation’s marketing strategies which does not ensure success meaning that the strategies which the organisation decide to market on may not be successfull.
A study by WTO (world tourism organisations) suggest that governments should be involved in tourism in order to follow these four main functions, coordinating, legislative, planning and financing. On top of that the WTO also identified the main five objectives of tourism development which the governments should be responsible for in the management of tourism, which are to fulfil the rights to leisure and holidays; to prepare citizens for tourism; to develop the economy through tourism; to increase social and cultural development and last but not to ensure that there is enough protection towards the nature. According to the argument by Jenkins and Henry (1982) 499-521, they think that most developing countries, active government involvement in tourism is much required to compensate for the absence of a strong and a promising tourism experienced private sector.
Baum (1994) 185 suggests that the formulation and implementation if tourism policies/strategies at a national level reflect a diversity of priorities and circumstances. Also Hartley and Hooper says this diversity when they state that ‘’public sector policy objectives which may be needed from tourism in order to include the creation of income and wealth; job creation; maintaining and the quality of life; maintaining and improving links both within and between nations; and contributing to the nation’s balance of payment position.’’ In consideration of a published national tourism policy documents positively confirms this as a multifaceted agenda, an example is given in chapter 4 of my findings, the Rwandan Tourist Board (ORTPN) introduced their objectives by providing a tourism master plan by stating that the policy must include the need to be able to sustain and promote the country’s culture and heritage, to be able to protect and enhance the physical environment of Rwanda and last but not to ensure that the economics and social well-being of the host community is maintained at a high standard.
Fayos-sola (1996) 408 suggests that tourism policy huge impact and it should continue to be used in organisations and destinations. Fayos-sola continues to suggests that in most countries, tourism has not been truly integrated in economic policy, whereby many tourism organisations focus their strategies in a tourism communication policy, launching aggressive promotional programmes, where tourism administrations acting in greater or lesser coordination with private initiative or try to reach out a market niche for the tourism destination in question by making what is considered to be on occasion an amateurish use of communication tools.’’ These types of policy are likely to cause issues in terms of efficiency, this is because they regularly focus exceptionally on promotional methods and messages but rather not have enough on measuring and improving the issues that may occur.
B.Teye (1992) 408 presents ‘’A normative strategic planning model for local tourism management and development.
This table above explains the planning framework that involves the preparation of an agreed agenda for strategic planning. This includes the identification of the participants, the establishment of structures which would enable them to undertake the process, the formulation of mission statements and objectives and the agreement of a time frame for the completion of the various planning stages. This model should enable a tourism organisation or destination to develop a clear vision of the nature of the local economy. B.Teye states that this model was put together 1990 December as strategic planning process with a public meeting in ishmore.
2.2: Below are the frameworks that show different types of strategic planning models
The development of a strategic tourism plan for a destination is an expression of the strategic direction that has been acknowledged by stakeholders for the planning, development, management and marketing of an area. Strategic Plans for destinations has been called Destination Management Plans, Tourism Action Plans or Sustainable Tourism Plans in different areas around the world. Rwanda used all these types of strategic planning model in when drafting a tourism master plan. A strategic plan for destination management is important because it determines the success and the sustainability of a destination for the near future.
This diagram above identifies a performance measurement of an organisation; it also investigates the impacts of performance measurement in strategic planning. Performance measurement was found to be one of the four main factors that clearly show the modern practice of strategic planning. When evaluating the performance measurement, there are major influences in supporting the achievement of the company’s aims that they set and the effectiveness of its strategic planning process that were revealed at the end of the measurements.
2.3: Five basic strategic planning models that are mostly likely to be used in tourism organisations
2.3.1: Basic strategic planning model
This process is followed by organisation that are really small, busy, and have not done much strategic planning before. The process might be implemented in the first year of the non-profit to get a sense of how planning is conducted, and then overstate in later years with more planning phases and activities in order to make sure well-rounded direction for the non-profit. Planning is usually carried out by top-level management.
2.3.2: Issue based planning
This is a process where Organisations that begin with the “basic” planning approach described above, regularly develop to using this more comprehensive and more effective type of planning.
2.3.3: Alignment Model
The main purpose of this model is to certify strong alignment among the organisation’s mission and its resources to successfully operate the organisation. This model is very important for most organisations that need to adjust its strategies or even find out why they are not working. Most organisations might also choose this model if it is experiencing an outsized number of issues around internal efficiencies. The Overall steps in this model includes: The planning group outlines of the organisation’s mission, programs, resources, and needed support, Identifying what’s working well and what needs improvement within the organisation, Identifying how these improvement should be tackled. Last but not least include the improvements that were made as strategies in the strategic plan.
2.3.4: Scenario planning model
This model is mostly used in combination/together with other models to make sure that the planners are seriously undertaking strategic thinking where by it will be useful, most especially in identifying strategic issues, aims and objectives.
2.3.5: “Organic” or Self-Organising planning model
This model is identified as a traditional strategic planning. “Mechanistic” or “linear” are processes that are sometimes considered, for example they sometimes begin by conducting a broad assessment of the external and internal environments of the organization and also conducting a strategic analysis (“SWOT” analysis) as shown in chapter 4, this model would help reduce to identify and listing issues of developing exact strategies to deal with the specific issues taking place.
Fayos-Sola.E, Marin.A and Meffert.C (1994) 13 suggests that tourism organisations must adapt to the new market conditions, improving their tourism information systems, and strengthening their company culture and other competitively useful business tools for the future. On the other hand they think such improvement must be made in permanent contact with the markets that are chosen with improvements which will help them enable to obtain competitive advantages and will also help to avoid others lead to unnecessary spending, inflexibility or even incorrect positioning. They then suggest that the strategic business decision-making task is very important in the new age of tourism which yet becomes more complex. The main point of this is that these needs no longer refer not only to sales function, or rather to the integrated marketing function. Most tourism companies/industries respond strategically to their competitive environment with the lowest information which helps gather costs and optimal possibilities for using a quick feedback mechanism.
Athiyaman.A, (1995) 449 suggests that strategy implementation is the process or way of implementing a sound strategic decision that can make an ineffective or alternatively make a debatable strategy successful. The implementation process contains a series of activities which are primarily administrative. Some of the activities include developing an information system that provides timely information on a variety of strategic activities to all apprehensive and rearranging the performance measurement and incentive systems in order to match the kind of behaviour needed for efficient strategy implementation. The boundary of tourism and strategy research will explored by way of a literature analysis which is conducted to be a major reason to assess the attempts made by researchers in order to understand the functioning of tourism businesses. Some other reasons include identifying the research gaps in tourism strategy research and lastly to highlight the possible areas of strategy research that are open for examination. A strategic management model was chosen by Tregoe and Tobia in order to show that strategy has been used rather casually by both management authorities and executives which unfortunately seem to be the case in tourism. There are four components that are involved in this model. These are: Analysing the environment– this is where this part of the strategic management process needs research into two part or aspects of the environment: task or market environment and societal environments. Planning direction– this part of model is concerned with determining the where the organisation is going in the future. In more words, determining the overall direction for the company where it’s heading to and want to be in the near future. Planning strategy- this is a process that deals with identifying ways of achieving the objectives. More often a number of alternative strategies are measured, for example simulation game theory, linear programming and statistics are definitely used to select the optimal strategy. Implementing strategy- this is a process whereby once a strategy is selected, each of the operations within the company such as marketing, manufacturing and human resources is associated in a way as to be able to contribute toward the efficient implementation of strategy.
Johnson, Scholes and Whittington (2005:10) defined strategy as ‘the direction and scope of an organisation over the long-term which achieves advantage for the organisation through its configuration of resources within a changing environment and to also fulfil stakeholder expectations’. This statement contrasts with views made by Ansoff (1969:7) that a set of management guidelines which specify the organisation’s product-market position, the directions which the company is looking forward to grow and change, the competitive tools it will employ within the business, the means of how they will enter the new markets, the manner in which it will build its resources, the strengths which it will look for in order to develop, on the contrary the weaknesses it will seek to avoid. Ansoff then rounds up by identifying what is strategy, he suggests that strategy is a concept of the firm’s business which then provides a unifying theme for all its activities.
Tribe (1997) 110 suggests that there are generic strategies that are involved in porter’s model which are designed to promote a lasting competitive advantage for an organisation. The model is made up of three generic strategies which are cost leadership, differentiation and focus.
Cost leadership strategy involves an organisation becoming the lowest cost provider within the industry. That one of the key ways to achieve this is by offering a basic, standardised, mass produced, no frills product or service with inessential aspects stripped out. A differentiation strategy is where by an organisation seeks product exclusivity. The company will then attempt to establish real products or perceived differences between its products and those of its competitors so that a premium price can be charged without loss of customers. The logic for this strategy is that an organisation will be an industry above average performer and that’s if the price premium exceeds the extra costs of providing differentiation. Lastly focus strategy– this model mostly occurs where strategy is customised towards a particular market segment instead of the whole market and this may take the form of cost focus or differentiation focus.
The following chapter will focus on different methods used, in order to complete this project:
3.1: Introduction to the chapter
In this chapter, I am going to state down all the types of methodology that I will be using in this project. The main type of methodology that will useful to this project will be conducting a secondary data, whereby I will have use qualitative analysis, also analysing, identifying and evaluating what is in the main recent master plan of tourism in Rwanda. I will then use different analysis of series of findings found by different authors/researchers in textbooks, journals and other search engines which will include dissimilar internet sites. Continuously I will do a presentation of appropriate sources which will include statistical indexes, graphs and tables of my findings which will support the views of the literature review above and the personal assumptions on the subject that I am discussing within this project. The reason why I will not use primary data is because my subject area/business sector is Tourism in Rwanda where as it will be complicated for me to collect any information.
Secondary data research is a method that is commonly used for data collection. It is used by most service organisations worldwide. The process of collecting data may involve accessing information that is already collected by the organisation that maybe seeking information within the company or sometimes by a distributor of primary data research. When collecting or on-going secondary data research, people tend to use third-party sources which may include internet websites, sales and accounting records, the press which may include news papers and magazines, last but not least, marketing research reports are commonly used. Internal and external sources can also be used following up a information that was put together by the marketers. (prescott, 2008)
3.2: Using secondary data
Saunders. M, Lewis. P and Thornhill. A (2007) suggests that secondary data uses both raw data and published summaries. In most organisations/companies tend to collect and store a lot of data in order to support their on-going operations: for instance the company’s payroll details, copies of letters, minutes of meetings taken and accounts of sales of the company’s products and services, this helps the organisation know or even get track on where they stand.
3.3: types of secondary data used in an organisation
They are different types of secondary data that most organisations can choose to use but most importantly they tend to consider Quantitative and Qualitative data which is used in most cases when collecting information. This data is used in both descriptive and explanatory research. Farther more, in collecting or use secondary data, most tourism organisation may consider Documentary, Survey-based and multiple-source secondary data research.
3.3.1: Documentary secondary data:
Are sometimes used in research projects that may include using primary data collection methods. Nevertheless this type of research can be used by its own or with other supported secondary data sources, for instance, an organisation’s history research within its archival research strategy. When using this data, the organisation uses written materials; e.g. notices, correspondence, minutes taken in the meetings, reports to shareholders, diaries, transcripts of speeches, administrative and public records which may include customer’s complaints etc. journals, newspapers, magazine articles and books are also included in this research. (Saunders.M, Lewis.P and Thornhill.A 2006)
3.3.2: Survey-based secondary data:
Are used to collect data, more especially when using a survey strategy which includes questionnaires that have been analysed by the company for their original purpose. This type of data is likely to not be used in a tourism industry because it is mostly used to collect data such as censuses, continuous or regular surveys or even Ad hoc surveys which is usually collected by the Government. I think it is not beneficial for any hospitality industry to use this type of data. (Saunders.M, Lewis.P and Thornhill.A 2006)
3.3.3: Multiple-source secondary data:
This type of data can be a documentary or a survey data. But on the other hand it can be combined together in order to form a data set. E.g. 800,000- 1,000,000 Tutsi minorities were killed in just 100 days. (Statistics on Rwanda, 2008) this data clearly indicates the statistics of all people who were killed in the Genocide that took place in the year of 1994 in Rwanda. (surf surviours fund, 2008)
3.4: Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary data
3.4.1: Advantages of Secondary data
Easy to access information because the information required already exists, therefore it saves time. (Mark Saunders, 2007) Suggests that secondary data sometimes provide a source of data that is both permanent and available in order to be easy for the readers and researchers.
Low cost to obtain meaning that it is a lot cheaper when collecting information compared to primary research.
Can sometimes result in unforeseen discoveries meaning that it may allow you to access information or collect data that you could not otherwise get from anywhere else.
Source: (prescott, 2008)
3.4.2: Disadvantages of Secondary data
Access to data collection maybe difficult or expensive. Sometimes the information needed may not be available free of charge on the website or even not available in books etc, therefore the person that need the information may be need to either spend some money in order to gain access towards the information they may need, this can also include organisations.
No control over data quality which means that you may have less control over how the data was collected.
The data may be out of date which may result in misleading the researchers.
3.5: Evaluation of the main tourism master plan of Rwanda and what it consists
The tourism master plan is very important because it outlines the strategies and plans that the Government want to implement or rather put in place in order to increase tourism in the country.
RDB (Rwanda Development Board) developed a Tourism master plan that will enable them to transform the country into a leading tourist destination in the world. The aims of a master plan were to come up with strategies that will cover all the aspects of increasing tourism among the tourism industry in Rwanda.
3.5.1: Strategies that was set
One of the strategies that they came up with was to improve infrastructure and facilities such as roads, hotel facilities, airports, shopping centres, tourist attractions and recreational facilities.
Additional products and service to attract tourist besides the Mountain Gorillas which is known as the key tourism product of Rwanda.
Improve customer service within the tourism industry.
Human resources management and policy regulatory frameworks and competitiveness needed to be improved in order to attract more domestic and outbound tourists. (Times, 2009)
In this chapter I am going to present the findings of analysis models referring to Chapter 2. I will do this by analysing different models and also explain what the strategic plans of the Government of Rwanda are and how they are trying to implement these strategies in order to increase Tourism and how tourism strategies are prepared. Furthermore I will conduct a SWOT analysis and product development in order to show how the Government may tackle problems that may occur while trying to increase its tourism.
Rwanda’s tourism sector has been a relatively fast growing part of the economy in the last 10 years especially the last quarter of the decade. Generally, the hospitality and tourism industry consists of two main sectors – the Hospitality sector and the Travel and Tourism sector, each consisting of different sub-sectors and each consisting of specific jobs and job opportunities which require qualifications and skills obtained either through formal pre-service training or through continuous on-the-job and in-service training. Rwanda faced a horrible civil war that caused so many problems, besides killing over 800,000 to 1 million lives but also destroyed its tourism. Over the past years Rwanda has worked so hard in order to bring back its image. (Murangwa, 2010)
4.1: Analysing different models
The types of strategies and models that Rwanda used when preparing a tourism strategic master plan are: Destination management plan, tourism action plan, Alignment model and Scenario planning model.
4.1.1: Destination management plan:
As explained in chapter 2, destination management plan is used when preparing strategies of a destination. Rwanda used this type of strategy in order to determine the success of the country. After the country lost its image straight after the war that took place in 1994, in order to gain its image as a destination, they had to come up with strategies that will help the country restore its name. For example, they had to make effort in developing a cleat tourism strategy, mainly focusing on high-end tourism with conservation as one of the main key. They also had to involve an international marketing campaign in order to be known abroad and make improvement towards the country’s image.
4.1.2: Tourism action plan:
This model is very important to Rwanda because it helps them take action when preparing a strategic plan. They get to know what problems tourism is facing and they find solutions to the problems. An action plan or sustainable tourism plan also prepares to develop actions that will be taken in the near future in order to solve issues that may occur or may not go according to the strategies that were set during planning.
4.1.3: Alignment model:
This model is very important and useful for Rwanda when drafting a tourism master plan, this is because they were strategies that were set in order to improve tourism in Rwanda and the Government is following them, however they might come up with changes that they may find to be beneficial and that way they may include them. For example, the YouTube link shows how Rwanda will look like in 2020 whereas they didn’t not include all aspects that they will touch on when drafting the 2010 tourism master plan. Changes may occur when trying to meet up with the strategies.
4.1.4: Scenario planning model:
Rwanda’s Tourist Board should be able to find this model very useful to them most especially when trying to implement strategies because they will be able to identify issues that may occur during the setting of the strategies or even after, then will be able to know what actions to take on solving the issues that may occur. Set aims and objectives may not go according to plan, so that is where this model is very useful. It helps the strategy planners plan ahead, meaning what actions to take if they do not meet there target goals that were set.
4.2: what are the strategic plans of Tourism in Rwanda?
Currently Rwanda suffers from an under-resourced manpower in tourism and technical skills are limited. In the past the tourism legislation regulating and protecting the industry has been non-existent, which has undermined the country’s natural historic and cultural heritage. However in the last 6 years a master plan has been drafted to help address these issues as well as expands the industry. The country famously nicknamed ‘the land of a thousand hills’ which therefore makes it a destination for adventure tourism. Rwanda is blessed with a temperate climate supporting a range of fauna, and a flora beautiful scenery. Perhaps the most iconic of the being the heckling visits of the mountain gorillas, which at its peak had 17,000 visitors in 2008.
Another of the future destination is the Lake Kivu, with a potential to be a major tourist amenity. Currently the road network in Rwanda is considered amongst the best in central and particularly the east of Africa. In the last 3 years the government has made optic fibre connectivity a priority installing more than 2500 km of fibre optics nationwide, making internet connectivity dependable. This in turn helps consolidate a reliable and productive tourism industry communication wise. Another of the government strategic plans is to increase investment in the leisure industry by increasing the number of hotels, resort and motel rooms, particularly on its (730 rooms) of available stock considered to be at international standard.
The Government of Rwanda also managed to come up with a tourism policy/plan and they called it vision 2020. They implemented that the country should focus on preparing a recovery plan which will enable tourism to increase by restructuring the national tourist office in Rwanda and also ensuring that the private sector is strengthened in order to encourage eco-tourism. Since Rwanda is seen as a natural beautiful country. The policy also should include the development of the tourism sector which will lead to fair distribution of the country’s income. The tourism industry will have the responsibility of ensuring that the tourism sector adds on/contributes towards the creation of the image of Rwanda, since the country is known as a country that Genocide in 1994 which gave the country a bad image.
The Government of Rwanda conducted a study on tourist arrival statistics in 2008 which indicated a substantial growth of the industry than previously assumed. With an estimate of around $600m per annum projected to be the annual revenues in a decade’s time, more than quadruple at current rates. For these figures to be achieved in the future, the focus of the government will not be only on the tourism sector but rather to diversify the wider economy. To do this the government is looking to develop the agri-business on an international scale, increasing manufacturing and in particular the service sector, to which tourism is the key sub-sector in regards to economic growth. The above stated that it will help the tourism sector with a growth rate of 4.8% annually to the year 2016. This is in line with the country’s vision 2020 to increase the services sector from 7% to 11%, of which 6.5% will be the tourism sector as mentioned above. (Economy& Envestiment)
Table: Rwanda’s economic growth.
6.5% is conducted to be the tourism sector.
Source: Rwanda’s Economy and Investment.
The banking and financial services also project strong growth as Rwanda aims to be the financial hub of central Africa and east Africa, for this to happen Rwanda is looking to out-perform African neighbouring countries with a growth rate of 5% per annum, especially starting from a much less development tourism segment. In figures this translates as $130million tourism receipts by 2012, excluding transit and others indicating a growth rate of 300% from 2007-2012. Another major asset in the tourism expansion has been the local population in particular individuals with a high net worth have been sensitised to the business opportunities in an expanding and dynamic tourism sector. On the international scale, the government has upped its marketing strategies by organising a major tourism investment forum in Kigali 2009 with official backing from the government. Thereafter a follow event up is to be mounted in the Middle East in one of the GCC states given the region’s interest in investing in major tourism assets in Africa, such as the Dubai world in Rwanda. High profile international assistance has also been sought by Rwanda to help mobilise investment flows in the tourism sector. An example is the former British prime minister who has in the past used his contacts in business to network on Rwanda’s behalf to attract investment within the country.
4.3: SWOT analysis Rwanda
1.Excellent tourist attractions. E.g. Mountain Gorilla
2.Country is safe and friendly.
3.Excellent temperature throughout the year.
4.Colourful landscapes, mountains and lakes.
5.Excellent road networks.
1.Lack of quality tourism products and services.
2.Rwanda can be an expensive destination.
3.Poor development of cultural heritage.
4.Visitation to the national parks is quite expensive yet it’s poorly marketed.
5.Poor customer service among staff in the tourism industry.
1.Resorts and potential activities offered at the national parks.
2.Rwanda is seen and also aims to be the financial hub of central Africa and
3.Product and climate well suited to niche markets, e.g. people aged 50’s
4.Increase of the country’s profile and economy.
5.Bird-watching and wildlife experiences are seen to be available.
1.Accidents affecting the Gorilla’s.
2.Destruction coming from built and natural heritage causing issues.
3.High cost of imported products.
4.Recession affecting some of the key markets in the country.
5.1994 Genocide still causing bad image to the country.
Source: Rwanda’s Master Plan.
4.4 The main role of Gorillas and its contribution toward the economy of Rwanda
Gorillas are the main key tourism product of Rwanda. It contributes a lot toward the economy of Rwanda. Mountain gorillas was made famous in the 1990’s after a release of a movie called ‘’the gorillas in the mist’’ in 1988 by an American zoologist and gorilla conservationist called Dian Fossey. Thereafter gorilla tourism became one of the major attractions that helped contribute towards the economy of the country/Government, but from 1991 to 1994 this tourist attraction didn’t have any use towards the economy because of the war. However after the war, when the country was stable, the Government of Rwanda did what it could possibly do in order to restore its economic sectors by putting the gorilla tourism before other attractions and that is how it became to be the main key product. Mountain gorillas are situated in one of the volcanoes National park of the country called Virunga. Mountain Gorillas is seen to play a critical ecological, economic and political role for the Government of Rwanda.
4.4.1: Benefits of Gorillas towards the Government of Rwanda
As mentioned above, gorilla tourism being put as a most important tourism product in the government’s strategy, it has benefited the country in so many ways, by promoting the country and conservation of natural environment which helped or lead to sustainable tourism development and decreasing poverty reduction of the community by providing job opportunities. In terms benefits towards the locals, the park has employment opportunities, so therefore it employs the locals as guides, trackers and rangers. Besides the locals, private sectors also benefit a lot, those that have restaurants and hotels around the park, this also helps the locals to gain employment, skills and experience in these hospitality sectors which has made a major improvement towards the living of the locals. Following up is the Gorilla naming events that takes place every year in Rwanda and put together by Rwandan Tourist Board.
4.4.2: Gorilla naming ceremony
Gorilla naming ceremony/event was introduced in 2005 in order to create recognition/awareness for the conservation of the mountain Gorillas. This is a process where they give baby gorillas names. The event is called ‘’KWITA IZINA’’ each and every year this event takes place and every year it has a theme. 2010 KWITI IZINA theme was ‘’ Many Species, One planet, One Future’’. This event brings in a lot of international, regional and local visitors to Virunga mountain ranges where the gorillas live. This event is also beneficial towards the economy of the Government as it brings in a lot of tourist to the country. Another reason why this event takes place is ensure that the people of Rwanda and the international are able to participate in environmental protection and help look for possible solutions and ways to reduce incoming threats to biodiversity of the mountain ranges. This event also helps to promote the culture of Rwanda, during the event, speeches take place by the members of tourism committee, and Rwandan people are also able to explore their culture by dancing, singing and poem telling. Ever since this event was introduced, 103 baby gorillas have been named. In 2007 when this event launched, the director General ORTPN Rosette Rugamba, suggested that “The new event brand Identity has been developed to incorporate the evolution of the Gorilla naming event from a local event into an event of international stature while keeping a national identity that is distinctively Rwandese, and also she added on that every birth of the gorilla is a confirmation of a successful conservation and protection program that aims that one day it will achieve its principle objective of removing the mountain gorilla off the endangered species list.
Source: (Rwanda office of Tourism and National Park, 2007) (Lawler, 2010)
4.4.3: images of the Gorillas at the event of KWITA IZINA in Mountain Ranges
Source: (Lawler, 2010)
To conclude this, the strategies that have been implemented by the government to increase tourism in Rwanda have had an impact on the government and the local people. The reason for this is because people that work in tourism organisation have been forced to take on the strategies that can help increase tourism, therefore employees and employers are trying to follow these strategies in order to see that Rwandan Government can increase its tourism, doing this will help the country be reorganised the developments/changes they have done in order to increase tourism in Rwanda.
Following up on some of the strategies that the Government of Rwanda want to implement, such as country’s infrastructure, hotel facilities, tourist attractions and customer service within the tourism industry. After the strategies were put together on how to improve infrastructure, the roads were really bad, a lot of tourist were complaining, but now talking from experience, the roads are being maintained now and then since the country is working hard to ensure that they meet there aim for vision 2020. For airports, the Government is currently building a national airport in a place called Nyamata which will be bigger than the one they had. Their main objective for this is to ensure that they promote and establish the new airport that is currently being built as a regional hub, last but not least to promote the development of air transport.
Tourist attraction has been also improved and still improving straight after the policy was set. Rwanda has several attractions, the major one is the mountain Gorillas, the memorial sites, etc. Besides the gorillas being the main key tourism product of Rwanda but also the memorial site is seen to be another tourism product. The site also helps generate income towards the country and also has a huge impact on the locals who lost their relatives during the 1994 genocide. The main strategy for the memorial sites were to ensure that it is built and well maintained for both out-bound and in-bound tourists. The aim for building these sites in each region within Rwanda was to ensure that it is beneficial and it will help transform the lives of those who survived.
Customer service within the tourism industry was one of the key issues that was raised and put in the strategies that the Government want to improve. Again talking from experience, Rwanda is still facing a problem with lack of customer service both in private and public sectors. The strategy that was taken in order to improve this issue was to ensure that tourism organisations introduce training for the employees. This aim would help both the organisations and employees. Tourism organisation will benefit by first of all success and also providing the best customer services they want towards their consumers. Employees will benefit by gaining the best skills and life experience that they can use in any organisations they may go to. Customer service is very important mostly for tourism in Rwanda because it provides excellent and memorable support towards the consumers/tourist that may feel that Rwanda cannot provide, most especially tourist that go to Rwanda having an impression that the country is one of the third-world country.
5.1: Will tourism in Rwanda develop as planned by the government?
Tourism in Rwanda will develop as planned by the government and this is because since 1994 when the genocide ended, the government had tried to do a lot of changes to the country in order to increase tourism, firstly by drafting a ten year tourism master plan that contain strategies that will be followed in order to increase tourism, so far the government of Rwanda is continuing to follow its strategic plan in order to see whether Rwanda is recognised within world for its tourism development rather than being recognised for the civil war that took place.
Besides the tourism master plan that was drafted by the country’s tourist board, they have what is called vision 2020. So far Rwanda is building new roads as mentioned above, new homes and business buildings which they think it will contribute towards the success of the economy and the plan where they want Rwanda to and look in 9 years time.
Below is a short YouTube website that demonstrates 2020 master plan of how the strategy makers want Rwanda to look like.
5.2: Possible outcomes
Conclusively, Rwanda is certainly reaping from the gorilla tourism and contributing to poverty reduction that was caused by the civil war. The image of the country has seriously improved straight after the strategies were put to action; first and foremost they had to ensure that gorilla tourism promotion was done since the gorillas are there main tourism product that generates the country’s economy. However, In order for the country to ensure that they are doing the right thing, the government of Rwanda should diversify its tourism products by establishing other tourism products that will complement the gorilla tourism. Such as Lakes, the national parks, mountains and the memorial centres. More conservation efforts and community involved is also needed to ensure sustainable tourism development as mentioned in chapter 4.
Focusing mainly on the internal and external issues that are affecting tourism in Rwanda, since Rwanda is seen to have excellent tourist attractions, one of the weaknesses seen is that they lack quality tourism products, for recommendation, Rwanda should provide more products and services to collaborate with its fascinating attractions. For example they should sell more and more traditional handicrafts, gametes and other products that would eye-catch mostly international tourist. As for services, hotel and other hospitality organisations nearby these attraction should ensure that they offer a high standard service towards the tourist because they deserve what they paid for and also by providing what the customers want, in order for these organisations to know what customers want, they should create customer feedback forms and provide them after each visitation of a tourist and then they will be able to know what customers want, do not want, what they prefer most and what they think should be changed in terms of improvements. That way tourism organisations should be able to know what they need to change in order to provide quality products and services.