Rwanda becomes first African country to host WTTC Global Summit

By Esther Muhozi
On 1 November 2023 at 10:17

Rwanda’s capital, Kigali is hosting 2000 participants. This event is significant as it will bring together industry leaders, experts, and government representatives to acknowledge the recent growth of the travel and tourism sector in Africa and to address the challenges it faces. The theme for the 23rd WTTC Global Summit, taking place from November 1 to 3, is "Building bridges to a sustainable future."

Co-organized by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), this annual summit is the most influential gathering in the travel and tourism calendar, aiming to align efforts to support sector growth and move towards a safer, more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable future. Over the three days, the summit will cover various sessions on resilience, sustainable growth, the impact of AI, emerging markets, and key challenges and opportunities in the sector.

Julia Simpson, President and CEO of WTTC, expressed pride in celebrating the prestigious Summit in Rwanda, a country known for its conservation efforts and innovation. This is the first time the summit is being held in Africa. For Rwanda, the event provides an opportunity to showcase the role of sustainable tourism in its transformation and demonstrate how sustainable tourism can protect biodiversity and promote thriving communities.

Rwanda’s forecasts for the travel and tourism sector are promising, with the WTTC predicting that by 2033, the sector will contribute over $430 billion to the African economy and create more than 110 million jobs across the continent. In Rwanda specifically, the sector is projected to contribute over $2.1 billion to the national economy and generate nearly 568,000 jobs, thanks to the country’s commitment to sustainable tourism and diversifying its offerings.

This summit coincides with Rwanda’s goal to double its tourism revenue from $445 million in 2022 to over $800 million under its seven-year National Transformation Strategy. The WTTC Global Summit 2023 aims to be a catalyst for this transformation, providing a platform for innovative ideas and opportunities to redefine the future of travel and tourism.

The WTTC’s 2022 Summit focused on the sector’s value to the global economy, the environment, and communities, featuring notable speakers such as former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and actor and filmmaker Edward Norton.

The global tourism industry is expected to create nearly 110 million jobs worldwide within the next decade, as reported by the WTTC in 2023. The travel and tourism sector is anticipated to be a driving force for global economic recovery from the pandemic, with its GDP projected to grow at a rate exceeding the global economy’s growth rate, reaching $15.5 trillion, equivalent to 11.6 percent of the total global economy, by 2033.

Akagera National Park is among the most visited tourist attractions in Rwanda.