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African nation suggests tourism link with Barbados

In a bid to bolster ties between Rwanda and Barbados across various domains, a government official from the East African nation has suggested bypassing intermediaries in the tourism industry to ensure both nations retain their full earnings from travellers.

Professor Nshuti Manasseh, Minister of State in Charge of the East African Community in the Rwandan foreign ministry, made the proposal on Thursday as he addressed his country’s inaugural business mission to Barbados, hosted by Invest Barbados at the Hilton Barbados Resort. He argued that “countries with captivating attractions receive the least from tourists”.

He explained that often tourists are required to “send all their money back home” before they travel to their destinations “and stay almost free,” leaving their money “in the West”.

“I don’t believe this is necessary. In the new partnership, we aim to forge between the Republic of Rwanda and Barbados, we should avoid this practice. We must eliminate this scenario where tourists send their money back home and then stay in our countries ‘free.’ I don’t think we benefit from this kind of arrangement. Therefore, our relationship should circumvent these middlemen,” declared Manasseh.

“We should consider the final outcome when we seek partnerships between our people and yours, particularly in the realm of tourism, and avoid involving middlemen. I believe we have relied on them for far too long,” he added.

He emphasized that despite the geographical distance between the two countries, they share “common values rooted in progress and development”.

Pointing to the physical beauty of both nations, their unique landscapes, cultural heritage, the warmth of the people, and Barbados’ competitive tourism product, Manasseh regarded these as core strengths.

He also highlighted Rwanda’s significant progress in creating an attractive investment environment, facilitating ease of doing business, and embracing technology and innovation, suggesting that both countries could learn from each other.

The business mission’s talks focused on areas for investment and explored opportunities for strategic partnerships in trade and tourism.

The minister urged attendees to set tangible targets following the mission, emphasizing the importance of turning discussions into action and not merely engaging in theoretical talks.

Minister of Tourism and International Business Ian Gooding-Edghill disclosed that the two governments are considering a memorandum of understanding (MOU) related to tourism development and promotion.

“This MOU will include, but not be limited to, commitments to promote the exchange of organizational expertise, knowledge, and tourism statistics while adhering to applicable rules and regulations in both countries,” said Gooding-Edghill.

He highlighted the focus on heritage and sports tourism during the current mission and pointed out the establishment of road tennis courts in Rwanda as a result of a previous Invest Barbados-led mission to Kigali.

Gooding-Edghill stressed the significance of partnerships and expressed his anticipation for the establishment of a direct air link between Barbados and Rwanda, stating that “this will not only reduce air travel time but also create new opportunities for collaboration, trade, and tourism”.

During the seminar, Rwandan officials presented several benefits of investing in the African nation of over 13.4 million people, highlighting various projects open for investment across sectors such as renewable energy and tourism. ‘

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