Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has allocated Rwf3.5 billion for tourism marketing activities as it seeks to recover the tourism and hospitality industry from Covid-19 impact in the next fiscal year.
This was confirmed by Clare Akamanzi, the CEO of the board.
She was speaking on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 during a budget hearing session with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony as she explained about RDB's proposed spending for the 2020/2021 financial year.
She said that the sector has been severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic which shook its revenue projections, and the revenue sharing programme which has over the years significantly empowered residents living in the vicinity of national parks.
"Tourism marketing after Covid-19 will mainly help ensure that people have trust again in visiting Rwanda. It will also help us to look for clients from both Rwanda and abroad for local (hospitality and tourism) companies," she said.
Meanwhile, MP Christine Mukabunani wanted to know what was being done to help hotels which have been much affected by the pandemic.
In line with supporting the sector, Akamanzi said that there was made a review in taxation, citing a three-month waiver of pay as you earn tax - an income tax deducted from employees' salaries or wages - for hotels and other businesses such as tour companies, adding that such an arrangement could be extended if deemed necessary.
In addition, she said that the Government set up a Covid-19 economic recovery fund with $100 million in available funding so far.
The fund, she said, is under the management of the National Bank of Rwanda which will channel the money through commercial banks in the country for businesses, especially hotels, to access it.
"The financing will help largely in the loan restructuring because hotels' capacity to repay bank loans has reduced as a result of small clientele [compared to the period before the pandemic]," she said indicating that there will be a grace period of three years.