E-Tourism, one of solutions to enhance recovery of tourism sector

By Zaninka Umutesi
On 4 December 2022 at 11:11

On the second day of the Africa Tourism Business Forum Meeting, participants pointed out the issue of tourism businesses that have not yet integrated technology into their operations.

The meeting which brings together tourists and other actors in the tourism sector from 15 countries, was organized by the Rwanda Chamber of Tourism.

The two-day meeting sought to discuss problems that threaten tourism at
the level of the country, region and Africa and how to solve them.

It was also aimed at tackling existing challenges to make Africa a destination for tourists.

Relenting to embrace technology to bring to limelight services and products was pointed out among other problems that continue to mire the tourism sector.

For example, there are 300,000 tourism-based businesses in Africa, but
15% of them embraced the ’E-Tourism’ technologies.

In Rwanda, the effects of Covid-19 have affected tourism sector, where revenues dropped from US$498 million in 2019 to $131 million in 2020. However, the sector started registering growth in 2021 owing to tourism recovery efforts.

Speaking on the second day of the forum on Friday this week, the Lead Project Manager at the ICT Chamber in Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation, Dushime Chris said that revenues would not have dropped drastically, had businesses embraced technology before the onset of the pandemic.

He said that the ICT Chamber is committed to establish technology training centers in different areas helping businesses to integrate it into their operations, hence helping them to develop resilience against future shocks.

Dushime went on to explain that they intend to extend these services to
everyone, and help them understand the role of technology in service delivery and various opportunities that come with it.

The number of traders and employees familiar with this technology is
still low, prompting customers to consider platforms from abroad to purchase products. Dushime says that the problem lies in lack of self-confidence since this technology is not costly.

The Director General of the Chamber of Tourism, Frank Gisha Mugisha said that they have decided to embrace technology in tourism after realizing that businesses would hardly develop resilience in this era.

He says that they have started using it to collect information about the people who need their services and their potential clients in order to know their locations and anticipate market needs.

"We want to launch ‘Rwandaful’ platform to connect different tourism operators. It will help them bring their activities to public attention where clients can learn about their services easily,” Mugisha said.