KAMPALA, Uganda (eTN) – The efforts to inject professionalism into Rwanda’s tourism industry, supported by government via the Rwanda Development Board, the Private Sector Federation’s tourism chamber and the Rwanda Tours and Travel Association RTTA bore fruits when late last week 25 guides out of 30, who sat for exams in May, were awarded their ratings after successfully demonstrating their various competence levels.
7 attained the 1 star (bronze level), ten attained the two star (silver level), six attained the three star (gold level), while two of the guides attained the coveted 4 star diamond level.
Although no specific examination details were immediately available it is understood that East African regional standards were used, similar to the examinations administered regularly by the Kenya Professional Safari Guide Association or Uganda’s Safari Guide Association, ensuring that tourists traveling across the region get the best possible guiding services when visiting ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills’.
Said a regular source in an overnight email: ‘Rwanda has for long known that we need to strengthen our human resources and provide adequate skills for staff in the tourism sector. RDB’s Tourism and Conservation Department has for several years now supported the drive to train our staff. The Private Sector Federation also has been instrumental and the private sector has been fully behind this objective. I want to thank you for always being positive about what we do here in Rwanda because many have taken inspiration from your articles and feel appreciated in their efforts and how you report about us. We are proud to have to top rated guides now and others with high exam pass rates. More courses will now follow and there will be regular exams so that newcomers can test their skills and others can attain higher grades and then get better pay. Let me end by congratulating all those who sat for exams and in particular the two who graduated with top honours, they have done Rwanda proud.’
Only days ago it was reported that Rwanda’s tourism revenues grew yet again by 11%, compared to the already record breaking year 2011, setting the stage to reach new records in arrivals and revenues when the year ends. Regular sources close to the Rwanda Development Board also spoke of an increasing acceptance of the Congo Nile Trail launched officially in November last year and of the birding trails outside the national parks, where tourists can also come face to face with how ordinary Rwandans in rural areas live their lives.