To India it is a visit to the Taj Mahal, to Egypt it is a visit to the ancient and towering pyramids. This is a developing and crucial segment of the tourism industry and it is non other than cultural and heritage tourism.
Perhaps to explain it better, one would define this concept as tours done to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present of the given area. It includes cultural, historic and natural resources.
A little search on the internet will reveal that tourism is one of the world’s leading industries, and the concept of cultural and heritage tourism is its fastest-growing segment.
According to www.virginia.gov today’s national and international travelers look for fulfilling travel destinations that provide authentic historical, cultural, and natural experiences of an area or region.
To be able to provide exciting and competitive packages, travel-related organizations can maximize their strengths by forming public and private partnerships within communities and regions. Such partnerships leverage resources to develop and promote programs that meet travelers’ needs for enriching, integrated experiences
Rwanda, famous for its mountain gorillas in the tourism industry, is leaving nothing to chance. Thanks to the varying tour and travels agency in the country. A random survey of different itineraries in Rwanda will show that despite all tours packages provided are geared to ending with a visit to the Virunga National park, home to almost 300 of the worlds 700 mountain gorilla, those packages are not entirely all about visiting these gorillas only.
If one took a closer look at these itineraries, randomly, you will discover that principle among the tour destinations here in Rwanda, is the king’s palace in Nyabisindu town.
Formerly known as Nyanza town, Nyabisindu holds a lot of cultural significance to the Rwandan people since it is home to the traditional seat of Rwanda’s feudal monarchy. Housed in an enormous domed construction made entirely with traditional materials, the 19th century impressive Royal Palace is now maintained as a museum and is attracting hundreds of tourist coming to Rwanda and those from within.
Provided by the various tour agencies is another of the numerous cultural attractions in Rwanda, The National Museum. Located in the southern region of the country, a two hours drive out of the capital Kigali, in Butare town, this museum provides an engrossing display of traditional artifacts set on a fascinating selection of state-of-the art monochrome photo graphs.
Providing an insight into the pre-colonial life styles and the subsequent development of Rwanda as a modern state with its varied archeological and ethnological artifacts, the museum would easily rank the best in East Africa.
Staying with museums, is the new entrant on tour and travel itineraries. The genocide memorial site in Kigali, which provides a grime check on the reality that is the history of Rwanda, Gisozi genocide memorial site, located in the capital Kigali, the site chronicles with vivid images and horrifying video clips, the history of the Rwanda genocide in macabre details.
Leaving the sites, perhaps the finest exponent of Rwanda’s claim to cultural tourism, would be the varied and dynamic traditional musical and dance styles, also a must see item on the various packages provided by the numerous tour and travel agencies.
However when speaking of traditional dance and music, mention should be made of the Intore Dance Troupe. Founded several centuries ago, the Intore – literally means ‘The Chosen Ones’ – once performed exclusively for the Royal Court, but today their exciting act can be arranged at short notice through the National Museum in Butare and sites else where around the country.
Hot on the heels of the afore mentioned attractions are the all too famous traditional handicrafts. Locally produced, these artifacts range from ceramics curios to wooden carvings and colorful tradition baskets like the famous Agaseke basket. All these are not to be missed.
Working at full capacity, these sectors of the Rwanda tourism industry, are soon to be giving the gorilla trekking sector a run for their money. They are looking to tap on the throngs of tourists who come from the world over to visit and trek gorilla families in the Virunga National park and this is a strategy that is geared to diversify the tourism industry in Rwanda and in the end Rwandans reaping big.
Finally one would say that the above is probable because studies have consistently shown that cultural heritage travelers stay longer and spend more money than other kinds of travelers. Good cultural heritage tourism improves the quality of life for residents as well as serving visitors. As of now, Banda a small village in Nyungwe forest has started reaping big owing to the frequent visits by the tourists. On their way to visit the captivating Flora and Fauna of Nyungwe Forest, the residents of this village have been able to tap directly from the tourists owing to their crafts that they sale to them.