Putting Rwanda on the luxury tourism map

Rwanda is making major efforts to stand out as a high- end destination in Africa. We asked Linda Mutesi, Tourism Marketing Manager at the Rwanda Development Board, about her country’s top tier tourism strategy.

We are attracting high-end properties that understand both conservation and luxury as well, including the One&Only wilderness safaris that have been doing this for a long time. So there is a balance between tourism and conservation, which is something we are also trying to work on. But the most exciting development is our open visa policy. Anybody from anywhere in the world can come into Rwanda and obtain a visa upon arrival. They don’t have to go through the excruciating process of sending their passports to the consulate in their home country. Also key for us are soft assets like safety, something that travellers consider on their way to a destination. We have been ranked by the World Economic Forum as one of the safest countries globally and that is really exciting for us as a destination.

Is the question of safety also a matter of changing people’s perceptions and attitudes about the country following the civil war in the early 1990s?

It is. And we have been working on this for the last 23 years. There has been a lot of promotion of not just tourism, but also investment.

What are the main source markets for Rwanda?

Currently, most of our visitors are coming from North America, from the US in particular, though also from Canada. The UK is our second source market and Germany is quite a big market. There are some emerging markets like Australia; while France is a growing source markets for Rwanda. People from Belgium [the former colonial occupiers] come to visit friends and relatives but many are coming for tourism. China is a key target market. We know very well that it is the trending market globally and while they are visiting Europe, they are also thinking of new destinations.

Photo: Linda Mutesi Tourism Marketing Manager, Rwanda Development Board

Hall 21a / Stand 120