Kigali has been ranked the second most popular destination in Africa for hosting international conferences and events by ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association). Cape Town is ranked first in Africa. Last year, Kigali was ranked third behind Cape Town and Marrakesh.
ICCA represents the world’s leading association in handling, transporting and accommodating international meetings and events.
The rankings, which were released by the ICCA on 13th May 2019, are based on the number of association meetings taking place regularly (annually, biannually), rotating between at least three different countries and with at least 50 participants.
Last year, Kigali hosted 26 association meetings. The association meetings organized by Rwanda included several high-level conferences such as the 4th Gender Summit that was held in March, the Mo Ibrahim Governance Weekend held in April, the GSMA Mobile 360 Series Africa held in July, the meeting of the African Society of Human Genetics held September, the Africa Smart Grid Forum held in October and the International Conference on Family planning that was held in December 2018.
Rwanda is currently hosting over 3,000 delegates attending the Transform Africa Summit 2019 as well as the Africa Public Relations Association Annual General Meeting.
Reacting to the new ICCA rankings, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Convention Bureau, Nelly Mukazayire said;
“We are happy to note the new rankings and we are working incredibly hard on attaining an even better position through hosting even more association meetings. We believe that identifying and working with our local associations will help Rwanda perform better in ICCA rankings in the years to come. Rwanda recorded 38,745 delegates in 2018, up from 28,308 delegates in 2017. Tourism is the country’s largest foreign exchange earner and MICE is playing a significant role in its growth, bringing in 20% of all tourism revenues. MICE tourism contributed USD $56 million in 2018 and this year, we intend to increase it to USD $88 million.”
Commenting on the ICCA report, the Rwanda Development Board Deputy CEO & Chief Operating Officer Emmanuel Hategeka said;
“These rankings are proof that our MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) strategy is generating value to Rwanda and act as an incentive to do even more. With close collaboration between Government and the private sector, Rwanda has been able to establish its self as a safe, secure MICE destination of choice due to deliberate enabling environment and investment in world-class MICE venues, accommodation facilities, connectivity options and open visa policy among others.”
Rwanda is a preferred MICE destination due to its simplified visa process that allows nationals of every country in the world to get a visa on arrival in addition to its easy accessibility due to the multitude of flight options offering connectivity to Kigali and the rest of Africa though the national carrier Rwandair. Furthermore, the presence of the range of world-class MICE venues such as the Kigali Convention Centre, the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village and the newly opened Intare Conference Arena, as well as the soon to be opened Kigali Arena continue to enhance Rwanda as a top MICE destination.