The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has again ranked Rwanda capital city, Kigali as the second most popular destination for Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) events in Africa.
According to the latest statistics by ICCA which were released on Tuesday, May 12, Kigali only came second to South Africa’s Cape Town as a city the hosted the most meetings under the ICCA banner in 2019.
The Rwandan capital earned the same rank for 2018 after climbing one position up on the list the year before.
MICE is a specialized niche of group tourism dedicated to planning, booking, and facilitating conferences, seminars, and other events, which is a big moneymaker in the travel industry.
Additionally, Rwanda has become the third among Africa’s most popular MICE destination countries, moving up two places from the fifth rank held in 2018.
South Africa tops the list, again, followed by Morocco.
ICCA’s rankings are based on the number of association meetings taking place regularly (annually, biannually), rotating between at least three different countries and with at least 50 participants.
Every year, the association ranks cities and countries according to the stringent guidelines.
“This is great news and proof that the MICE strategy is generating value to Rwanda,” commented Nelly Mukazayire, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Convention Bureau, the national MICE agency.
“We shall continue to identify and work better with our local associations and other stakeholders to help the destination do better in the ICCA rankings in the years to come.”
Tourism is the largest foreign exchange earner in Rwanda. With over 10,000 rooms in Kigali and 50,000 square meters of meeting space, MICE contributed 20% of all tourism revenues, amounting to US $56 million and 38,745 delegates, according to RCB.
Revenues for 2019 were projected to increase to US $88 million.
With the COVID-19 disease outbreak, 20 association meetings previously scheduled between March and April were halted, retaining US $10 million or 10 percent of estimated revenues in 2020.
Among the major meetings in Rwanda that were disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak, include the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which was slated for June but was pushed forward due to the outbreak.
Ranking in the top positions are results of Rwanda’s established repute in safety and cleanness, in addition to world-class MICE venues, accommodation facilities, connectivity options and open visa policy among others.
Statistics by ICCA show that 2019 recorded 13,254 rotating association meetings, the highest ever recorded annual figure in its yearly statistics.
In global city rankings for 2019, Paris tops, followed by Lisbon and Berlin. All top five are European cities.
In country rankings, USA holds the top spot, remaining the titleholder for the last two decades while the top 20 countries remain unchanged.
ICCA comprises of over 1,100 member companies and organisations in almost 100 countries and territories worldwide.