Rwanda: Tourism – Small businesses to get government bailout

The Rwanda Tourism Chamber is committed to helping small businesses in the tourism sector gain access to the Economic Recovery Fund (ERF), to help them recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Aimable Rutagarama, president of the Rwanda Tourism Chamber, said the second phase of the fund will focus on micro and small tourism businesses, adding that they are in talks with the government and other partners to access the fund. funds as soon as possible.

The Economic Recovery Fund (ERF) was created by the government of Rwanda to support the recovery of businesses hardest hit by Covid-19 so that they can survive, resume operations and safeguard jobs, among others.

“The first installment of the stimulus funds that we received were mostly focused on hotels and the small businesses were kind of left behind. However, this time around we will be focusing on those small businesses as they have also been left behind. affected by the pandemic, and we cannot help some by leaving others behind but the sector survives thanks to cooperation, ”said Rutagarama.

Rutagarama added that they will also work to relax the strict conditions these small businesses have been placed on to access the fund.

Tim Osundi, director of Alast Tours and Travels, praised the initiative, saying the stimulus fund will help them retain more staff and step up the marketing of their products.

He added that his company has requested the stimulus fund and is waiting, hoping it will happen sooner.

According to a recent report by the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), tourism-related services continued to suffer from the lasting impact of Covid-19, despite the economy gradually reopening.

These include transport, where growth fell by -11.6% against -2.8% during the previous financial year, hotels and restaurants (-36.4% against -9.3%), as well as travel agencies and tour operators (-37.6% vs. -2.0 percent).

Strategies in place

As a strategy to deal with the many losses encountered in the tourism sector, the Rwanda Tourism Chamber, in partnership with other tourism companies, launched the inaugural Rwanda Tourism Week.

Rwanda Tourism Week is scheduled to take place November 24-28 at the Kigali Serena Hotel under the theme “Rebuilding Tourism for Sustainable Growth” and will aim to build confidence and morale in the tourism sector.

Frank Gisha Mugisha, director general of the Rwanda Tourism Chamber, said the week will feature more than 100 exhibitors of arts and crafts, photography competitions and bring together clients from the tourism sector such as hotels, beverage companies, aviation and telecommunications companies, among other activities. .

“This is one of the strategies that will help us recover from the pandemic, where we will build partnerships and networks as we move to a position of stronger resilience in the tourism sector, and also present Rwanda a country which offers a different tourist destination internationally. as well as regional tourists and locals, ”he said.

Rwanda Tourism Week will be held in conjunction with the 4th edition of the Africa Tourism Leadership Forum (ATLF).

The ATLF will bring together key stakeholders from the travel, tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors in Africa to share their ideas and design strategies for tourism growth across the continent.

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