Tokyo, 27 September 2015 – The Embassy of Rwanda to Tokyo in collaboration with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Tourism was one of the over 1,600 local and international Exhibitors at the just concluded Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) Tourism Expo Japan 2015 in Tokyo.
This annual Tourism and Travel Fair which is organized by the Japan Travel and Tourism Association (JTTA) and Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) is regarded as one of the most attractive and productive tourism events in the world.
The Head of Tourism at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Faustin Karasira, who was in Tokyo for the event stated that “Over the last 5 years the number of Japanese Tourists visiting Rwanda has been steadily increasing but the aim is to get these numbers doubled over the next year”.
One of the strategies envisaged to achieve these targeted numbers is to organize a business trip to Rwanda, in early 2016, for the Japanese travel and tour operators to familiarize them with the tourism destinations and products Rwanda offers – and this to be done in collaboration with the airlines operating in Rwanda as well as Rwandan tours and travel operators and hotel owners.
Mr. Karasira also met with several large and medium tour and travel operators some already working with Rwanda and new ones.
Rwanda’s booth at the Expo was a beehive of activities, including seminars and group meetings conducted by Rwanda Embassy and RDB – Tourism officials, distribution of promotional material, streaming documentaries and videos on Rwanda – but the greatest crowd puller was Rwanda coffee sampling at Rwanda booth.
Japanese are one of the largest consumers of coffee in the world. The finest Rwanda coffee was served by Rwanda Embassy to thousands of visitors who came to Rwanda booth each day. They sipped the coffee, picked promotional materials and stopped to watch the videos or listen to seminars – this in the true spirit of the motto for this year’s Expo – “Move. See. Feel”.
Rwanda Ambassador to Japan, Amb. Venetia Sebudandi, held media briefings at the venue. In her interview with TV Tokyo, she invited the Japanese people to visit Rwanda and explore the country’s unique beauty and vast tourism attractions – from the varieties of its National Parks, to cultural and educational tours, to its biking and hiking trails and beach leisure – all enjoyed in a secure and clean environment. She shared the latest global ratings which show Rwanda among the safest countries in the world.
East Africa Tourism Visa was promoted at both Rwanda and Uganda. Uganda tour operators present shared how Japanese tourists coming to Uganda are increasingly using the Visa and choosing to visit the gorillas on the Rwanda side through Kisoro.
Rwanda’s participation drew a lot of interest from both the public visiting the Rwanda booth as well as the professional travel and tour operators who left convinced to include or upgrade Rwanda in their catalogues as a competitive high end tourism destination in Africa.