By David Himbara
Although Rwanda is not in the big league of its African Community partner countries that each earn billions of dollars in tourism receipts, its tourism was steadily expanding to a half billion dollars by 2019. Then came Covid19 that hit tourism hard – tourism arrivals in Rwanda dropped by 76 percent in 2020.
Here is the World Bank’s latest data on the state of Rwanda’s tourism industry. As shown by the data, between 2010 and 2019, the number of tourists increased substantially. Although Rwanda was not in the big league of its African Community partner countries that earn billions in tourism receipts, its tourism was steadily expanding. In 2019, Rwanda generated US$498 million versus Kenya at US$1.7 billion; Tanzania’s US$2.6 billion and Uganda at US$1.2 billion. Then came the Covid19 pandemic. Tourism arrivals in Rwanda dropped from 1.6 million in 2019 to 494,000 in 2020, a 76 percent decrease. This drop sharply reduced travel revenues by 73.6 percent from US$498 million in 2019 to US$121 million in 2020. According to the World Bank, tourism is the hardest-hit sector of the Rwandan economy that has affected tourist operators, hotels and restaurants. Stay tuned.