Private event organisers decry unfair competition

Tuesday October 10 2017

Participants networking on the sidelines of a

Participants networking on the sidelines of a trade conference at the Kigali Convention Centre. Such summits in Kigali have helped boost the country’s earnings from MICE. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

By MOSES K. GAHIGI
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Private events' organisers are at odds with the Rwanda Convention Bureau after accusing the institution of becoming a competitor and crowding them out of business.
They say they face collapse unless boundaries are drawn to ensure the bureau keeps to its core mandate of facilitating the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry.

“You cannot be the regulator and at the same time a competitor. When the Convention Bureau organises events, it hurts our business,” said an events organiser who asked for anonymity.

Aimable Rumongi, the president of the private events’ organisers, said sector players held a meeting with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), over the issues raised.

“We met with RDB last week and we discussed our concerns and we agreed to issue a joint statement about what discussed,” he said.

Frank Murangwa the acting CEO of the Convention Bureau, despite having helped government organise some events, said the claims made by the private events organisers were not accurate.

The MICE industry is expected to generate $64 million this year, while as much as $444 million in revenues is projected for the tourism sector.

About 20,000 visitors attended events in Kigali in 2016. The government aims to earn $150 million per year from MICE. The country adopted the MICE strategy in 2014 to accelerate growth of the tourism sector.