Le Burundi à l'heure du tourisme

11-08-2008

Burundi out to woo tourism investors

Written by WALTER ISENGED,
East African Business Week
Monday, 04 August 2008

Bujumbura, Burundi — Burundi’s private sector is initiating a major drive to boost Burundi’s tourism following many years of instability and conflict.

A voluntary drive led by group of passionate returnees, in a project dubbed “Burundi, the beating heart of Africa,” are reviving what used to be the biggest travel destination in central Africa.

The project is the brainchild of two women post graduates of travel and tourism in the UK, but are now set to return home to promote the face of Burundi.

In conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism in Burundi, through it’s technical arm of the National Tourism Board, Ms. Carmen Nibigira and Justine Kwizera, with the help of other Burundians in the diaspora, the initiative wants to see Burundi attract thousands of visitors from East Africa and the rest of the world.

First on the Agenda is a ceremony dubbed “Burundi Tourism 2008 – Agenda for Change.” Burundi president Mr. Pierre Nkurunziza and the Minister of Trade and Tourism have been invited to preside over the event to take place on August 25th, 2008.

This will launch countrywide activities dedicated to the celebration of Burundi culture and heritage.

This is also seen as an opportunity to raise awareness of the potential Burundi has and to show locals and foreigners living in Burundi that tourism is a feasible sector worth investing in.

After the launch, a three-day familiarization tour of Burundi will then follow.

This is going to be an opportunity for the participants to see what Burundi has to offer and also see the challenges faced as a post conflict nation.

Among the invited participants for the tour are East African Community tour and travel officials, four from England, one Cypriot, two Spaniards and three Poles.

Among them are experts in the field of Travel and Tourism, members from the Hotel industry, tour operators and journalists.

The week will conclude with a conference and workshops on Friday the 29th dedicated to promotion of tourism in Burundi.

In an interview, Mr. Edouard Bagumako, assistant to the director in the national tourism board in charge of Tourism Promotion, private initiatives and Burundi tour told East African Business Week that government holds this project dear and will give whatever is at it’s disposal to promote this cause. Already, the Tourism Board has offered it’s office space and personnel to handle issues of coordination and logistics.

Ms Elsa Nibigira, one of the women behind this initiative, is optimistic about the success of the project. “For a long time, people did not know about the potential of Burundi. Whilst other countries may offer safaris because they have big game parks, Burundi offers eco-tourism, cultural tourism and leisure in a very attractive setting,” she says.

The private sector in Burundi has also been invited to participate both for sponsorship and to help in the participation and organization.

Five companies have so far responded positively. These include Hotel Club du Lac which is hosting the conference, Hotel Amahoro, MKM, Finbank and SOCAR.

GN