Mon, Sep 05, 2016 - Page 14 News List

Rwanda’s tourism earnings tipped to increase this year

GORILLAS IN THE MIST:The nation’s misty valleys and mountain gorillas are a strong magnet for tourists and visitor numbers are expected to increase 4%

Reuters, KIGALI

Rwanda expects to boost its revenue earnings from tourism this year by 25.8 percent from last year, helped by extra attractions, including a new game park, an official told reporters late on Friday.

The central African country, famed for rolling green hills and treks to see endangered gorillas on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains, expects tourist earnings to reach US$400 million this year, up from US$318 million last year.

Francis Gatare, chief executive officer of state-run Rwanda Development Board, told reporters that the nation wanted to maximize earnings from visitors “by giving several opportunities so that they [visitors] can increase the length of stay in the country.”

INVESTMENT

A new national park called Gishwati-Mukura, the country’s fourth, a “cultural village” in the capital, Kigali, a vast new hospitality facility called the Kigali Convention Center, and new adventure activities on Lake Kivu would drive revenue growth, Gatare said.

CRITICS

Rwanda is credited with rapid growth since the 1994 genocide that claimed the lives of 800,000 people, but critics of Rwandan President Paul Kagame say an authoritarian style undermines the potential for long-term political stability.

The nation’s misty valleys and mountain gorillas are a strong magnet for tourists and visitor numbers this year are expected to increase by 4 percent from 1.3 million last year.

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