World tourism projected to grow 4.5% this year

Tourists en route to Volcanoes National Park in Musanze District. With world tourism projected to grow further, experts in the country are encouraging product development and diversification that will not only attract tourists but also make them stay longer in the country, to further boost the country’s highest foreign exchange earner. The New Times/ File.

Tourists en route to Volcanoes National Park in Musanze District. With world tourism projected to grow further, experts in the country are encouraging product development and diversification that will not only attract tourists but also make them stay longer in the country, to further boost the country’s highest foreign exchange earner. The New Times/ File.

World tourism will grow by 4.5 per cent in 2014, according to the latest report by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) barometer.

The report shows that international arrivals will increase from 3.8 per year to 4.5 per cent, with Asia and the pacific taking the largest share.

Africa will register an increase in tourist’s influx of 4 to 6 per cent followed by Europe and the Americas both +3 per cent to +4 per cent, with the middle east registering 5 per cent.

The world tourism Confidence Index, based on the feedback from more than 300 experts worldwide, confirms this outlook with prospects for 2014 higher than in previous years.

“The positive results of 2013, and the expected global economic improvement in 2014, set the scene for another positive year for international tourism. UNWTO calls on governments to increasingly set up national strategies that support the sector and to deliver on their commitment to fair and sustainable growth,” said Taleb Rifia the UNWTO secretary-general.

Rwanda tourism sector optimistic

Denis Karera, the chairperson of the Rwanda Hotels and Restaurants Association, believes the country’s tourism sector is already experiencing a major lift following the launch of a single tourist visa among regional States Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda this year.

“The report is good news, but it also challenges us as market players to position ourselves to tap into this forecast growth,” Karera said.

Osborn Kinene, the Rwanda Eco-tours country manager, said tourism industry has potential to drive the country’s economic growth if commitment and investments are scaled up.

“There is still need to build capacity, especially in the hospitality sector, as well as in advocacy and marketing,” Kinene said.

International tourist arrivals grew by 5 per cent in 2013, reaching a record of over one billion, according to UNWTO.

Rwanda’s tourism industry remains the largest foreign exchange earner for the past couple of years. Last year, Rwanda was ranked sixth on the 2013 world travel guide. It was also on the list of 10 in the world that are of classic travel for great sights and convenient travel.

Rwanda Development Board projects the tourism industry to contribute more than 15 per cent of GDP by 2020.

“We are working with all stakeholders to ensure that we not only concentrate on attracting tourists, but also that once they are here, they can stay longer,” said Linda Mutesi, the RDB communications manager.

By Peterson Tumwebaze

newtimes.co.rw

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