London, 6 November 2017

  • Mr Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation
  • Senior Officials
  • Organisers and Sponsors, of the World Tourism Awards
  • Fellow Honourees
  • Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you, Peter, and thank you, Taleb Rifai, for that kind introduction.

It is good to be with you, for this special event.

On behalf of the people of Rwanda, I thank you for this award, which recognises Rwanda’s efforts to promote sustainable tourism, over the last two decades.

We have been working hard, to protect our natural environment, while building the infrastructure for our visitors and citizens, to enjoy Rwanda’s unique attractions.

Growth in this industry, has proven to be a driver of shared prosperity, notably because we ensure that Rwandans benefit directly, from tourism revenues.

These good results have been possible, because Rwandans have made a fundamental mindset shift, from dependence, to dignity and self-reliance.

This is why, for example, former poachers are today, the most dedicated protectors of wildlife.

We are also finding ways, to multiply Rwanda’s connections with the rest of the world, which is what this award represents for us.

This is a story that is being repeated across the continent, as Africans increasingly take charge of our future.

Of course, we would be delighted, if you all came to experience Rwanda for yourselves.

It is getting easier to travel to Africa. RwandAir, for example, now flies to 24 destinations on the continent, and beyond, including London.

So, as you can see, there really is no excuse.

Rwanda has been exhibiting at the World Travel Market for many years, and we have seen the impact. The United Kingdom is our second-biggest source of tourists.

Before I conclude, let me congratulate the Bradford Group on the 20th anniversary of the World Tourism Awards.

Our special thanks to our host, Reed Travel Expo, as well as the co-sponsors, Corinthia Hotels, United Airlines, and The New York Times.

Once again, thank you very much, and I hope to see you all soon in Rwanda.