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‘Be surprised at Remarkable Rwanda’

KCC overlooks Kigali
Frank Murangwa of Rwanda Convention Bureau talks to Sydney Paulden
A destination is a big attraction if it has not previously ben visited by delegates or award winners, but still has lots to offer in terms of modern facilities and exciting itineraries.
That is why Rwanda just has to be considered for any kind of international event.

Rwanda launched its promotion into the UK and Europe with a stand at The Meetings Show in London in June. ITCM was pleased to be able to hear all about this new destination from Frank Murangwa. He is Director of MICE Destination Marketing for the recently founded Rwanda Convention Bureau.

‘We are newly arrived on the global MICE scene’, says Frank, ‘but we can already boast valuable experience at a high level and we have the most modern facilities to offer for almost any size and type of event.’ Amazingly, ICCA has already ranked Rwanda 3rd in Africa in numbers of events and delegates after South Africa and Morocco.

The focus of the MICE business in Rwanda is the KCC – Kigali Convention Centre. It opened in the capital, Kigali, in July 2016 with the prestigious African Union Summit, hosting 35 Heads of State and a total of nearly 3,500 attendees. The facility has already been booked by SITE for a convention to be held in December 2018.

The KCC can seat close to 3000 at a plenary session and has a total of 18 break-out rooms. Close by there are 5-star and 4-star hotels of international brands, all built within the last three years, including a Radisson Blu and a Marriott.

‘The KCC’, Frank points out, ‘has been designed to ensure that all visitors are aware that they are in Rwanda. It is a brilliant piece of modern architecture, but still very reminiscent of the style of an ancient Rwandan Royal Palace’.

Rwanda is centrally located in Africa and a very convenient spot to hold an event to attract delegates from many neighbouring states. It is gaining more and more connections with all parts of the world. Founded in December 2002, the national airline RwandAir has a modern fleet of aircraft from Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier. They fly to 26 cities in Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia, including Gatwick, Brussels and Mumbai. New York will be added in August 2018.

Although landlocked in Africa, Rwanda boasts a year-round temperate climate of between 24 and 27degC and - surprisingly – it has beaches. These are alongside Lake Kivu, a stretch of water measuring 90km by 50km (55 miles by 30).

Rwanda also boasts three huge National Parks: The Volcanoes Park, the Nyungwe and the Akagera. As a result, incentives and leisure programmes can comprise a remarkable range of activities from kayaking on the lake to walking in the tree canopies and safaris to spot hundreds of different birds and many of Africa’s fascinating animals, especially the rare mountain gorillas.

Rwandans speak English and French. Visitors get visas on arrival and the local currency is the Rwandan Franc, with about 1100 to £1 and 860 to US$1. Visitors should check they have protection against malaria and yellow ever.

Frank says that Rwanda has been ranked the safest destination in Africa and 5th safest worldwide. ‘We ae also very careful about the environment, with a policy of eliminating plastics.’

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