The rankings by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) were based on the number of of association meetings taking place regularly (annually, bi-annually), rotating between at least three different countries and with at least 50 participants.
The Paul Kagame-led state moved up from position three where it ranked last year behind South Africa’s Cape Town and Marrakesh in Morocco.
Kigali hosted a total of 26 association meetings last year. These associations include a number of several high-level conferences such the 4th Gender Summit that was held in March, the Mo Ibrahim Governance Weekend, the GSMA Mobile 360 Series Africa, the meeting of the African Society of Human Genetics, the Africa Smart Grid Forum, and the International Conference on Family Planning.
While giving her sentiments about the new ranking, Nelly Mukazayire, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Convention Bureau stated that Rwanda is focused on getting better rankings.
“We believe that identifying and working with our local associations will help Rwanda perform better in ICCA rankings in the years to come. Rwanda recorded 38,745 delegates in 2018, up from 28,308 delegates in 2017. Tourism is the country’s largest foreign exchange earner and MICE is playing a significant role in its growth, bringing in 20 per cent of all tourism revenues. MICE tourism contributed $56 million in 2018, and this year, we intend to increase it to $88 million,” Mukazayire said.
Reacting to the ICCA report, Rwanda Development Board Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer Emmanuel Hategeka said, ” These rankings are proof that our MICE strategy generate value to Rwanda and act as an incentive to do even more.”
He further attributed the milestone achieved so far to close collaboration between different key stakeholders.
“With close collaboration between Government and the private sector, Rwanda has been able to establish it’s self as a safe, secure MICE destination of choice due to deliberate enabling environment and investment in world-class MICE venues, accommodation facilities, connectivity options and open visa policy among others,” he added.
Rwanda’s simplified visa regime that makes it possible for people from any part of the world to get a visa on arrival in addition to its easy accessibility due to several flight options could be the reason why it is a preferred MICE destination.
Featured Image Courtesy: Radisson Blue Hotels