“Economic benefits of heritage tourism include creating new jobs and businesses, increasing tax revenues, and diversifying the local economy” remarks Minister Francois Kanimba.
The Minister also pointed out that, those economic benefits are not the only reason why heritage tourism may be good for your community—“it has quality-of-life benefits as well”.
”Heritage tourism helps preserve your town’s unique character, which results in greater civic pride. Residents benefit too! There are more opportunities available such as shops, activities, and entertainment offerings that the local market alone might not be able to support”, said Minister Kanimba.
What is Heritage Tourism?
Heritage Tourism refers activities and services which provide international and domestic visitors with the opportunity to experience, understand and enjoy the special values of a region’s heritage, are sometimes referred to as heritage tourism.
‘Heritage’ and ‘Culture’ have become interchangeable and elastic terms. In the context of the arts for example, the use of the term culture relates to how a society’s history, beliefs, values, traditions and icons are manifested in an artistic format. The term often embraces Indigenous and natural culture, depending upon the perspective of the proponent.
Heritage tourism occupies a significant proportion of the ‘cultural tourism’ spectrum, and while it often overlaps with and links to other tourism product, the historic or human dimensions considerably inform and shape all parts of the spectrum. In this sense, heritage provides an ‘overarching’ component or common thread for many tourism products in a country or localized area.
Tourism remains at the top of the country’s foreign exchange earners and has retained a share of international business while the country’s opportunities to grow its tourism services are immense, ranging from hosting meetings and conferences, tapping into religious and cultural experiences, taking advantage of its eco and national parks and expanding water and leisure sports.
Rwanda has since invested in the convention bureau and other infrastructure and is seeking investors for spa and golf resort hotels along Lake Kivu and a cable car system on the slopes of the Volcanoes National Park. In addition, a new cultural village will be set up in Kigali to showcase a spectrum of the nation’s heritage in one setting.
Within the framework of implementing the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan which is among the highlights of the Government seven year plan, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba chaired a validation workshop on the dubbed “Heritage Corridor Tourism Sub-Master Plan connecting Kigali to the Nyungwe National Park”.
The study was commissioned in collaboration with Rwanda Development Board and aims to transform this region into a competitive tourists’ destination in Rwanda.