The Rwanda Development Board on Thursday announced the introduction of the tourism operating license to support regulation of tourism entities while at the same time grant grades to hotels that have already filled all the required procedures.
During the ceremony, 67 tourism entities including 50 hotels, 8 tour operators and 9 tour guides were awarded with a tourism operating license, a tool that will now be used by consumers and policy makers to define quality standards of facilities and services.
The law regulating the tourism industry in Rwanda officially came into force on 28th July 2014, while the Ministerial order regulating tourism operating licenses and the grading of tourism entities came into effect on 3 October 2016.
In this regard, the tourism operating license regulatory system is anticipated to improve quality of service, build the capacity of the private sector and improve the marketing efforts of stakeholders in the industry in favourably positioning the destination.
We are convinced that this new development will warrant a more vibrant industry, enhance stakeholder competitiveness and widespread success,” said Rwanda Development Board CEO Clare Akamanzi.
“The tourism operating licenses will also enhance transparency, accountability and proper standardization of the industry, maintaining the country’s front row position as a desirable tourism destination,” Akamanzi said.
She said Rwanda’s current ranking as the leading tourist destination in Africa as awarded by the World Travel Awards calls for actions such as this in order to maintain this providential position.
All tourism entities in the country, including accommodation establishments, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, tour operators, travel agencies, tour guides, tourism information offices, cultural tourism entities (cultural villages, private museums), and any other entity are required to obtain an operating license as detemined by the Order of the Minister.
The operating licence will also enhance Rwanda’s product positioning in line with the East African Tourism Marketing Platform as both the law and the ministerial orders were developed in accordance with the East African Community (EAC) standards and were subject to technical review.
Rwanda’s tourism industry has grown rapidly in the past few years; the number of hotel rooms and tour operators have grown from 680 hotel rooms and 5 tour companies in 2003 to about 10,000 rooms and 63 tour companies currently registered with Rwanda Tours and Travel Association(RTTA).
Belise Kariza, the Chief Tourism Officer at Rwanda Development Board while talking about the significance of this process said that, “through this law, industry leaders anticipate to support stakeholders by ensuring that they maintain high quality standards, consistently improve quality of service and enhance efforts in training private sector stakeholders.”