Tourism, events management feel the heat

Thursday April 30 2020

CHOGM

CHOGM has been postponed to a not yet know date next year. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
By JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
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Events management and hospitality industry are staring at more losses as major events planned for this year are postponed for an indefinite period due to Covid-19 pandemic.

While more countries are beginning to lift restrictions, others remain in a lockdown mode.

In addition, most commercial passenger airlines remain grounded as borders remain closed and countries insist on mandatory quarantine for all arrivals.

In Rwanda, players in the tourism, events and hospitality industries remain severely impacted with losses amounting to at least Rwf34.9 billion as of March 31 due to cancellations.

Now, there is anxiety among the business community if the biggest event of the year – Common-wealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) slated for June 2020 is cancelled, more losses will be incurred. While preparations were already in high gear for the event, the organisers have been forced back on the drawing board as the pandemic has escalated beyond the original anticipation period that could be contained.

The government had set aside up to Rwf10billion ($10.5 million) to improve and build infrastructure needed for the event. Up to 10,000 delegates from all the 53 Commonwealth countries were expected to attend the event.

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Nsengiyumva Barakabuye, president of Rwanda Hospitality Association did not wish to comment on the impact of CHOGM postponement since no official communication was made.

“We haven’t received any official communication, so I don’t want to speculate over that,” he said.

However, the players admit the postponement will translate into huge losses, further dashing hopes for business recovery.

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