Use of Rwandan embassies to grow MICE tourism pays off

Tuesday February 26 2019

mice

Country reaping benefits as conference tourism strategy bears fruit. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

By MOSES K. GAHIGI
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Government efforts to maximise Meetings Incentives Conferences Events (MICE) receipts through diplomatic missions and other strategic partners like International NGO’s seems to be paying off, as the country attracts conference clients.

The country has continued to oust its MICE agenda, which came into force in 2014, which saw the country outpace its peers like Kenya as a preferred international conference destination. Although the country is yet to realise its target of generating $150 million annually set in 2015, the country is oncourse after earning $47 million in 2016, $42 million in 2017 and $52 million in 2018.

“We are working with partners and this is producing results as we are already getting leads for onferences,” said Nelly Mukazayire, the CEO of Rwanda Convention Bureau. “The target for 2019-2020 is $88 million,” she said.

By the end of 2018, the number of MICE guests visiting Rwanda had already exceeded that of 2017. The numbers obtained from Rwanda Convention Bureau show that at the beginning of December, the country had already hosted up to 30,000 international delegates, surpassing the 28,000 guests hosted in 2017.

Over 50 MICE events have already been confirmed for 2019, which include the Africa CEO forum, Aviation Africa, GSMA Africa 360, global entrepreneurship conference, Transform Africa Summit, among others, with more yet to be confirmed.

The country has mounted rigorouspromotional campaigns to sell the country as a tourist and MICE destination, with the biggest being the Visit Rwanda sleeve deal signed with top premiership English club Arsenal FC, which analysts say has increased the country’s visibility internationally and attracted more tourists.

Last year, some of the conferences hosted in the country included the extraordinary AU Summit that was attended by 1,600 delegates, the Next Einstein Forum attended by 900 delegates, the international conference on family planning which attracted 3,806 visitors, the Transform Africa Summit which was attended by 1,500 delegates and the Youth Connect attended by 1,000 people.

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