Mount gorillas are a major tourist attraction to Uganda and Rwanda

The opportunities tourism brings to world will be highlighted when Ugandan and other African leaders, international investors and travel professionals meet for the 41st Annual World Tourism Conference, in Rwanda next week.

Hosted by the Africa Travel Association (ATA), a division of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the conference will highlight the economic and job opportunities being fuelled by the sector’s continued growth.

In less than 15 years Africa’s travel and hospitality industries have quadrupled in size, and the continent remains one of the world’s fastest-growing tourist destinations, second only to Southeast Asia.

The Corporate Council of Africa President and CEO of  Florizelle Liser, says the organisation plans to use the conference to encourage investments and policies that contribute to the tourism sector growth.

“The tourism conference will highlight opportunities in the tourism sector and intersecting sectors such as infrastructure, ICT, health, real estate development, and finance. Through strategic partnerships, we will also offer capacity building workshops for travel professionals of all levels,” she said.

This year will be the first time ATA’s Tourism Conference will be hosted in Rwanda, one of East Africa’s premier tourism destinations and one whose sector continues to grow. According to the Rwanda Development Board, the country’s tourism sector generated US$303 million in revenue, in 2014 up three percent in the previous year.

On the sidelines of what is expected to be a packed agenda, ATA is working with Facebook to deliver training to SMEs.

The ‘Boost Your Business’ is a training initiative, developed by Facebook and facilitated by Digify Africa, designed to train and upskill small business owners on how to leverage digital tools to grow their businesses,” reads a statement. The training will be held on August 26 at the Kigali Serena Hotel.

The conference also aligns with Kwita Izina, Rwanda’s annual gorilla naming ceremony, a national celebration creating awareness of the country’s efforts to protect the jewel of Rwanda’s tourism crown: the mountain gorillas and their habit.