TOURISM VALUE CHAIN
Tourism is already a driver of economic growth and employment in Rwanda. However, the developmental potential of tourism beyond the main attractions has so far been untapped. The improvement of tourism services and the development of promising tourism destinations and products are part of Rwanda’s priorities. With a geographic focus on the Kivu-Belt region, Eco-Emploi in partnership with the Chief Tourism Office of the Rwanda Development Board as well as the Chamber of Tourism, trains tour operators to develop and market new tourism offers in Rwanda, advises hotels and community-based tourism actors on how to improve their management and services, and strengthens the institutional capacities of the Destination Management Unit of the Chamber of Tourism in Rubavu.
Rwanda, known as ‘the land of a thousand hills’, offers excellent hiking trails with spectacular views. Eco-Emploi supports the establishment of management models around hiking trails, the exploration and digitalisation of new services and the certification of trails, for example, the premium trail certification of the Nyanza Cultural Trails by the German Hiking Institute. In collaboration with the Chamber of Tourism, the project provides skills development through training offered to tour guides and porters to increase their income opportunities around the hiking experience. Eco-Emploi also supports the Destination Management Unit Kivu Belt in the marketing of Rwanda as a hiking destination to attract more tourists.
Nyanza Cultural Trails
Nyanza District is home to two premium certified trails, namely the “Royal Trail” and the “Big View Trail” with impressive natural and cultural ambiance. Hiking through the community can be combined with a visit to the museums and other cultural activities.
Hiking Congo Nile Trail
The Congo Nile Trail that runs along the shores of Lake Kivu is the most popular trail in Rwanda. Each stage contains various levels of accommodation from self-catered camping, to a comfortable hotel bed. Food, water and shops can be found throughout the trail.
Eco-Emploi supports the Rwanda Cycling Federation FERWACY and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in promoting cycling tourism in the country. This includes for example GPS mapping and signalization of additional trails, support in marketing activities and development of cycling events, such as Ride Rwanda. In addition, cycling guides and mechanics receive training for professionalization of the sector and improvement of services for tourists.
Ride Rwanda is an amateur cycling event at its third edition, designed to promote Rwanda as a cycling destination for tourists. The event takes place at the same time as the professional Tour du Rwanda and along the same route on four stages.
Biking Congo Nile Trail
Besides hiking, you can also bike the Congo Nile Trail in 5 to 8 stages. Part of the Congo Nile Trail consists of dirt roads while other parts of the trail consist of single dirt tracks only accessible by hiking or on a mountain bike.
The promotion of Rwanda as a birdwatching destination is an additional support area of Eco-Emploi. The country is home to more than 700 bird species, comprising 29 Albertine Rift Endemics, in various habitats, including savannah and montane forest. Hence, the project supports the sector in developing its strategies, such as reviewing the National Avi-tourism Strategy (2014-2018) and preparing a new birding strategy to promote Rwanda as a birding destination. Furthermore, Eco-Emploi works closely with its partners to train birdwatching guides to improve the birding experience for tourists and create more jobs in the sector. The development and improvement of linkages along the birdwatching value chain, including developing a birder-friendly accommodation concept together with the Rwanda Birding Association, is also part of the project’s interventions.
Eco-Emploi supports the development, improvement and marketing of community-based tourism (CBT) experiences in the Kivu Belt and Nyanza district. CBT activities provide tourists with enormous opportunities to experience local life, is a source of income for the local community and raises prospects for job creation, particularly for youths and women. Supported CBT activities include local agro-tourism activities, night fishing, culture and rural life experiences. The project also offers advisory support for the development and implementation of the National CBT Enterprise Guidelines.
The Destination Management Unit (DMU) in Rubavu is a coalition of private and public tourism actors with the common goal to develop the Kivu Belt into a sustainable adventure and ecotourism destination. Eco-Emploi strengthens the DMU in its institutional development – thus promoting economic growth and job creation in the region. It focuses on promoting conservation and restoration activities, the inclusion of communities in the tourism economy, and the sustainable use of tourism ecosystems and travel options. Eco-Emploi specifically supports the DMU in developing a digital platform to promote CBT activities and products, thereby providing an opportunity to the communities to sell their products and services online. Furthermore, Eco-Emploi supports the destination management of the Nyanza district, which includes stakeholder coordination aiming at developing Nyanza as a cultural tourism destination with special offers for inclusive tourism.