Rwanda was the setting for this year’s Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) Executive Summit held from 1-4 December 2018. This annual event takes members of the SITE Board of Directors and SITE Foundation Board of Trustees to new and emerging destinations that can leverage the experience and knowledge of global industry leaders to grow its incentive travel business. The event, sponsored by Rwanda Convention Bureau and its partners, was also made possible through a grant from the SITE Foundation.
A high level delegation, led by SITE President Annamaria Ruffini, CIS, CITP, CMP and SITE Foundation President John Iannini, CIS, CITP, CTC, spent 5 days in the East African country, concluding unanimously that “Rwanda is incentive ready”.
Over 30 members of the local Rwandan Incentive Travel industry – some of whom are Certified Incentive Specialists (CIS) – gathered to hear presentations on incentive travel fundamentals and trends, as well as SITE’s role in the industry. Following the presentations, two panels discussed Rwanda’s potential as an incentive travel destination from the perspectives of products and marketing.
The SITE delegation also visited key regions in the country where incentive travel products and services are being developed – Nyungwe Forest National Park and Volcanoes National Park – staying at the recently opened One & Only Nyungwe House and experiencing a thrilling, early morning Gorilla trek.
Commenting on the experience, Ruffini said, “Since the tragic events of the 90s, Rwanda has recovered remarkably and is fast becoming a leading light for women in leadership and sustainability – themes that have been key to my year as SITE President. I’m thrilled to see how the business events sector in Rwanda is being led by young women pursuing a vision for the country as a sustainable tourism destination powered by meetings, conferences and incentive travel experiences.”
High level discussions were held with senior government officials including Clare Akamanzi, chief executive officer and Belise Kariza, chief tourism officer of the Rwanda Development Board; and Nelly Mukazayire, chief executive officer and Frank Murangwa, director of MICE destination marketing of the Rwanda Convention Bureau.
SITE CEO Didier Scaillet, CIS, CITP added, “The country’s visionary development board understands how MICE / Business Events are cross-sectoral, bringing benefits to the country way beyond mere tourism revenue. The local leadership is undoubtedly committed to incentive travel and our 5 days in Rwanda have left us no doubt as to the country’s credentials as an incentive travel destination. We look forward to helping Rwanda position itself as the unique destination that it is.”
SITE Executive Summit brings global expertise, experience and know-how in the area of incentive travel to destinations all over the world interested in refining their incentive travel products and services. Recent Executive Summits have taken place in Dubai, Slovenia and Ireland.
For more information on hosting an Executive Summit in your destination, please contact Estefani Acguirre at [email protected]