Greeting the Gorillas: Creating Joint Tourism Business Opportunities in Rwanda and Tanzania

Tourism business opportunities are on the rise in Rwanda and Tanzania thanks to the collaboration between Rwanda Tours and Travel Association (RTTA) and Tanzania Tour Operators Association (TATO). RTTA launched their IIDEA project this month -  the Rwanda Tanzania Tourism Trade Portal.

This is a digital Portal with key resources that enable collaboration, communication, monetization of services, and facilitate new business opportunities for Rwanda and Tanzania tour operators. The idea is for both destinations to collectively package their tourism products, efficiently and in appealing way to the regional and International market.

The two associations organized Business-to-Business networking event in Kigali to discuss the opportunities after visiting various tourist sites, such as Volcano National Park with mountain gorillas, kayaking and boat riding on Lake Kivu and canopy walkway in the Nyugwe Forest.

Tour operators from Rwanda and Tanzania hiking the Volcano National Park

Carolyn Namatovu, the vice chairperson of Rwanda Tours and Travel Association (RTTA), said that the partnership aims at enhancing tourism businesses between the two countries.

“We were supported by GIZ-EAC through IIDEA to strengthen the cooperation. When tourists come to Africa, they do not visit only one country, they also visit other neighboring countries”

RTTA, Namatovu

During the event, the digital Tourism B2B Trade Portal with a vision to link the operators in the tourism industry across East Africa was unveiled.

The portal was created with a target for integration and development of East Africa and engaging citizens of EAC partner states in the implementation of EAC common market protocol and showcasing integration experiences. Under the portal, operators will be able to organise meetings, trade fairs as well as access e-learning portals for training and updates on product knowledge of EAC destinations.

TATO CEO, Sirili Akko, agreed that the main objective of the partnership is to encourage tourists to increase their stay in the two East African countries.

“We are hopeful it will be a fruitful partnership because tourism is a new frontier in the African continent. East African countries, particularly Rwanda and Tanzania, have a very key synergy because we do not have the same products, which results in complementary products”

The Director General of Chamber of Tourism, Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation, Ariella Kageruka, urged operators in the countries to reinforce their network and exchange their experiences about tourism investment opportunities.

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