Last month, The Rwanda Open For Tourism webinar saw the crème de la crème of the region’s travel agent community convene to speak about their views on the Central East African country, also known as the Land of a Thousand Hills. Rwanda has reopened for tourism with its unique mountain gorilla trekking adventure, wildlife, wellness and community journeys as well as refreshing tea and coffee experiences.
Tourism is Rwanda’s biggest foreign exchange earner with close to two million arrivals in 2019, generating an annual revenue of $498 million for the country’s GDP.
His Excellency Emmanuel Hategeka, Ambassador of Rwanda to the UAE, said: “We were the first country on the African continent to implement a complete lockdown in March 2020, followed by mass testing, contact tracing, isolation, treatment and mass awareness of hygienic practices as guided by the World Health Organization and all health experts. Rwanda is among the very first few countries to receive the world's first ever global safety and hygiene stamp, launched recently by the World Travel and Tourism Council.
“With great weather all year long, and an open visa regime, anytime is the best time to visit Rwanda.”
High-end luxury properties, such as One&Only Gorilla's Nest, a five-star hotel at the foot of the Volcanoes National park and One&Only Nyungwe House, another five star boutique hotel bordering the natural tropical forest of Nyungwe, are ready to welcome guests.
RwandAir, the flag carrier has been operating direct flights from Dubai since August 1.
Belise Kariza, chief tourism officer, Rwanda Development Board, said, “All passengers entering Rwanda, including those in transit, will be required to show proof of a Covid-19 PCR negative test from a certified laboratory, taken within 120 hours of departure to Rwanda. For passengers entering Rwanda, a second PCR test will be conducted upon arrival with results delivered within 24 hours. Passengers are requested to isolate themselves in hotels for this period. Of course, all resumed services must stick to hth guidelines including hand hygiene, mask wearing and social distancing.”
A wide range of hotels are available for quarantine, from midrange to high-end, and meet and greet services are available in the airport for luxury guests. Helicopter transfers are also available within the country, not just for the ease of luxury travellers but for unforgettable views.
Dr Taleb Rifai, former Secretary-General of the United Nations' World Tourism Organization, who joined the webinar in the audience, said: “Rwanda is a very special place for me. About four years ago, I attended Kwita Izina, the naming of the baby gorillas in the mountains, and it was a very unique experience.
“Rwanda is a country where leadership shows a real demonstration of political will. That's the only way that tourism can flourish. Tourism will never flourish if there's no political will to push it forward,” said Dr Rifai.
- For more details on the webinar turn to pages 8-9
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