The World Tourism Award 2017 Will Be Held in Rwanda
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The World Tourism Award 2017 Will Be Held in Rwanda

On 6th November, 2017 H.E. Paul Kagame, the president of the United Republic of Rwanda will be honored with the World Tourism Award 2017 for his visionary leadership which will take place on the opening day of World Travel Market London at the Excel Center. He will be recognized at the annual World Tourism Awards ceremony of its 20th anniversary. The World Tourism Award for Visionary Leadership will be presented to H.E. President Paul Kagame in honor of his visionary leadership through a policy of reconciliation, wildlife conservation; sustainable tourism and economic development that have attracted key hotel investment that have all entirely made Rwanda one of the leading tourism destination in Africa today. Recently, Rwanda was crowned Africa’s leading tourism destination at the World Travel Awards Africa Gala which took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel and Convention Centre in Kigali. The World Travel Award was introduced in 1993 mainly to appreciate, reward and celebrate excellence across all the sectors of the global travel and tourism sector.

Under the visionary leadership of President Paul Kagame, the remarkable Rwanda has greatly achieved amazing tourism success and has been established on the global stages as the leading sustainable tourism destination in African continent. Tourism is undoubtedly Rwanda’s leading foreign exchange earner and has largely contributed to the nation’s development. Rwanda’s revenue collection from tourism sector has doubled from $200 million in 2010 to $404 million in 2016 which shows an annual average increase of 10 percent compared to the National Export Strategy target in 2016 by 13 percent. More than 1.3 million visitors were recorded in Rwanda by 2016. The visitor arrivals for the same period-2010 to 2016 have increased by 12 percent annually against the back drop of UNWTO arrivals in global emerging markets bench marked at 3.3 percent for the same period. Rwanda’s tourism industry is estimated to be 15 percent per year!

Being the preferred investment destination, Rwanda has introduced many initiatives to make sure that there is an ideal environment for business. Currently, Rwanda is considered as the second competitive destination for business in Africa based on the 2017 WEF Global Competitive Report and this has boosted more foreign investment in the tourism industry.

Majoring on the infrastructure development within the travel and tourism industry with more than $1 billion invested into important contributors like the RwandAir, enabling it to expand its routes internationally to 23 destinations and also increase its airlift capacity with 2 new A330 Airbus aircraft. The other main development in the tourism industry is the launch of the new international Bugesera Airport.

The establishment of Kigali Convention Centre puts Rwanda as an international conference and meetings destination. The addition of more than 1600 international brands 4 and 5 star lodge and hotel rooms including Marriott, Radisson Blu, Bisate lodge and one and only Nyungwe House, Ubumwe Grande which has been acquired by double tree by Hilton has led to creation of more than 90000 jobs in the entire hospitality sector.

Sustainability is crucial to a vibrant tourism policy and Rwanda has made sure that the 10 percent of all tourism revenue is given back to the local communities adjacent the four protected areas. This money is mainly used to finance the local priority projects especially schools, health centers and business which promotes sustainability and also benefits thousands of local residents. Rwanda’s conservation attempts have played a great role on the growth of the world popular mountain gorillas’ population by 26.3 percent ever since the last census in 2010. With only 900 individuals that are left in the world today, over 305 of these critically endangered apes live in the Volcanoes National Park and this takes over half of the number that is thrives around the Virunga Mountains.

Also, the Akagera National Park features as one of the best safari destinations in Rwanda and it is credited for the reduced human wildlife conflict. There was the recent reintroduction of lions and rhinos making it one of the perfect wildlife safari destinations you can ever visit in Rwanda. There is also a marked reduction in poaching through out Rwanda especially in 2013 where over 2000 wire snares were gathered from the park while in 2017 only one snare was collected. In the similar way, in 2017 no arrests were recorded compared to the previous years like in 2013 when over 200 poachers’ arrests were made. The other main conservation success was the proclamation of the Gishwati Mukura National Park that brought the total number of the protected areas to 4 with 9 percent of land currently under the management of protected national parks in Rwanda.

The World Tourism Awards celebrating its 20th Anniversary are presented annually at the World Travel Market London and sponsored by Corinthia Hotels, the New York Time and Reed Travel Exhibitions. It was inaugurated to recognize individuals, organizations, companies, destinations and attractions for exceptional initiatives related to the travel and tourism sector and in boosting the sustainable tourism and developing programs that give back to the local communities. The World Tourism Award is organized by the Bradford Group on behalf of the sponsors.

In conclusion the World Tourism Award was initiated to encourage and recognize the qualities of leadership and vision that inspires the rest of the members to also reach to greater heights.

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