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Linking tourists with specialty foods, a win-win

Published on October 19, 2017

On October 17, the Hub convened 24 participants from Rwanda’s public and private sector to discuss innovative solutions for increasing specialty food exports from Rwanda. The Hub team encouraged participants to brainstorm on how to better utilize Rwanda’s tourism industry, which now welcomes 1 million visitors each year. The idea would be to package Rwanda specialty food products, such as coffee and tea, as souvenirs for tourist who are visiting Rwanda’s natural resources. These souvenirs could be augmented by coffee and tea tours. The approach could increase export revenue for both tourism and agro processing and increase the average daily expenditure of visitors, which the World Tourism Organization estimates at just $300 a day in Rwanda. In Tanzania, the daily expenditure of tourist is estimated at six times the Rwandan rate.

The Hub’s specialty food advisor shared ideas based on Costa Rica, which implemented a similar concept for great gain. He encouraged participants to form partnerships with tour operators and increase the level of marketing for their agro-processed products. Going forward, participants will work closely with the Hub, National Export Agriculture Export Development Board, Rwanda Development Board, the private sector and other stakeholders, to learn from best practices in Costa Rica and roll out the activity.