Emerging destinations that include incentive travel in their strategic plans will experience faster economic growth and human capital development than would otherwise be the case

The Bangkok Manifesto, created at the SITE Global Conference in Bankok, Thailand in January, comprises 10 statements developed by incentive industry thought leaders on the industry’s true purpose in the business world today.

The Manifesto has been published in hard copy with the addition of written commentary on each of the 10 statements from industry experts in several disciplines–DMC and DMO sectors, hospitality sector, third party planners and corporate end-users. Each week we will take a deep dive into each one, thanks to our industry experts: This week we look at number 10 on emerging destinations including incentive travel with commentary by Clare Akamanzi, CEO, Rwanda Development Board

Governments all over the world are increasingly targeting and investing in MICE – meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions. These inbound channels are undoubtedly the most lucrative, beneficial and sustainable niches within tourism, generating revenues at a multiple of those generated by leisure visitors, fostering knowledge exchange between local and overseas meeting / conference attendees and, overall, leaving less of a trace as these discerning, educated visitors are highly sensitive to social responsibility.

The reality of over-tourism in leading global destinations is a lesson to emerging countries around the unintended consequences that can be unleashed, like a Pandora’s box, when countries seek indiscriminately to attract visitors at all costs. Short term gains cause mid to long term woes and a nation brand and reputation is easily damaged, sometimes beyond repair. In Rwanda we are determined not to make these mistakes.

Conferences and incentives are key pillars for Rwanda in a tourism strategy that takes the long term view and seeks to build on solid foundations. For a country that upholds tourism as a strong contributing factor for its economic transformation, rebuilt on a strong foundation of reconciliation, and powered by the determination to succeed, Rwanda will continue to invest in its conference and incentive offerings.

Incentive travel rewards employees with an extraordinary travel experience for going the extra mile and meeting stretch targets. We believe Rwanda can be the extraordinary experience, par excellence. Blessed with awesome natural resources and truly unique visitor experiences, we don’t require massive new physical infrastructure to deliver astonishing, transformational experiences.

The Travel & Tourism economy of Rwanda grew by 13.8% last year. Tourism has been noted as one of the fastest growth sectors in the world, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual review of the economic impact and social importance of the sector, As a development board, we acknowledge the outstanding impact the incentive travel sector has on economic growth and hence Rwanda is committed to grow this significant sector for our economies.