10 February 2013

Rwanda: Ruhango District Moves to Develop Tourism

Ruhango district is working on a plan to promote the immense tourism potential in the area, the district Mayor Francois-Xavier Mbabazi has said.

The district hosts a number of tourist attractions -mainly historical sites - but the sector remains hugely unexploited.

A recent survey by the district identified at least eight sites with the potential to be turned into tourist attraction spots.

A paper which documents and details the potential of each of the sites names Urutare rwa Kamegeri (the Rock of Kamegeri), Umugina w' Imvuzo, Intango ya Rwabugili, Amasenga y' Impyisi, Umwari wa Musamo, Igisoro cya Ruganzu and Umwungeri wa Nyankaka, among others, as some sites to be transformed into tourism spots in the district.

The document, a copy of which was availed to The New Times, details plans to revamp the sites as a way of wooing tourists. Among planned activities include the drawing-up of documents containing information detailing the historic facts about each of the identified sites and the setting up of infrastructures, including hotels, to accommodate tourists.

The district hopes to attract more visitors and hopefully investors in the tourism as well as other sectors.

While addressing a news conference on Friday, Mbabazi said plans are underway to make the district one of the preferred tourism destinations.

According to the mayor, district authorities are carrying out consultations with various stakeholders on how to restore the sites and the best strategy to market them.

Among the envisaged plans to restore the sites include working with residents and local cooperatives to restore and maintain the sites.

"We are also in close contact with private actors trying to show them the potential of investing in the [tourism] sector," Mbabazi said.

For the efforts to benefit the local population, Mbabazi said the district is encouraging residents to set up galleries to sell artefacts and other locally-made products.

"We want to make sure that our population benefits more from tourists by setting up selling points where tourists will purchase a number of products including artefacts and other locally-made souvenir articles," he stated.

Ruhango district is in the Southern Province.

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