WTM 2017: Rwanda hopes luxury lodge openings will boost stay durations

WTM 2017: Rwanda hopes luxury lodge openings will boost stay durations

Rwanda is hoping a surge in luxury lodge openings will increase the length of stay of visitors to the country.

The average stay in Rwanda is currently four days, the usual length of time for gorilla trekking, which is the primary reason for most visits to the nation.

However Belise Kariza, chief tourism officer at Rwanda Development Board, said highlighting other wildlife and adventure based activities would help to drive longer stays.

She said the welcome addition of several new luxury lodges would also make it easier for more extensive tours of the country.

“Our main challenge is getting the average stay up,” Kariza said. “Currently the average stay is four days, but we believe that the amount of new premium product launching will help us increase this. These are opening in different parts of the country and that will make it easier to offer wider tours.”

Wilderness Safaris and One&Only opened properties in Rwanda in recent months, and both have second properties being built. Safari specialist Singita is also set to open a property in Rwanda in 2019.

In 2016 just under 14,000 Brits visited Rwanda, the second largest number after the US.

The recent launch of a direct flight between Gatwick and capital Kigali earlier this year is set to grow that further.

Clare Akamanzi, chief executive officer of Rwanda Development Board, said: “It’s now easier and more convenient to get to Rwanda from the UK. We are increasing our presence here to market our destination more. We’ve appointed PC Agency to drive our messaging further – we’re investing because the UK is extremely important to us.

Outside of gorilla trekking, the tourist board is keen to showcase Rwanda as a good destination for birding, kayaking, biking and hiking.

Travel Weekly coverage of World Travel Market

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