This premier business-to-business event was organized in light of increasing awareness of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for investors within the industry, promoting a better understanding and relationship between investors and financial institutions as well as discussing other sector specific issues within the sector that will ensure continuous sustainable growth.
The forum came a few weeks after the celebration of the World Tourism Day 2017 under the theme: “SUSTAINABLE TOURISM – A TOOL FOR DEVELOPMENT” and it is in perfect alignment with the Government of Rwanda’s 7 year program that aims to double the annual tourism revenue, from USD 400 million as per 2016 figures to USD 800 million by 2024. This will result in bigger contribution of the sector to the country’ economic growth and continue the industry’s fast paced development.
Speaking at the forum, the Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Development Board, Hon. Clare Akamanzi stressed the importance of the event in promoting public – private dialogue and providing a unique platform for potential tourism players to share their experiences and ideas.
“This is an excellent opportunity for us to hear from the key players within the tourism sector. We are committed to working constructively with tourism-based investors and ensuring a sustainable favorable business environment. In this forum I would like to therefore encourage you to openly discuss some of the challenges you are currently facing as we also discuss how best we can address them.”
“I would like to assure all of you accountability in following up on the issues raised because only by doing so shall we also find ways of increasing revenue within the industry together. Currently tourism plays a very significant role in the country’s economic growth and it is considered the number one foreign exchange earner in the country.” Added Hon. Akamanzi
One of the contenting issues discussed at the forum was on interest rates in micro financing, and the deputy Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa during the plenary session said “As a regulator, BNR is currently in discussion with all banks operating in Rwanda to regulate interest rates in addition to some policies that are already in place aimed at justifying the criteria while calculating interest rates.”
On the behalf of Rwanda Revenue Authority, the Commissioner General, Richard Tusabe pledged good collaboration with investors within the tourism sector and urged them to work as a team in addressing all challenges.
“All members of the Private Sector Federation are welcome to discuss with us any challenges they have in regards to tax. Tourism remains at the backbone of our country’s development and therefore we are ready to help grow your businesses.”
Tourism in Rwanda is among the fastest growing sectors and contributes massively to the national economic growth, embedded on the increasingly enhanced public-private partnership. Statistics show that the tourism industry’s annual revenue has doubled from USD 200 million in 2010 to USD 400 million in 2016. The Government of Rwanda has revealed plans to increase revenue within the next couple of years by allocating more funds towards the development of infrastructure, including the implementation of Kivu Belt Tourism Master Plan and continuously marketing the country abroad with the aim of making it a high-end destination and MICE tourism hub.