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We will use AMAA to grow our MICE sector, says Rwandan Bureau Chief


A view of the Kigali Convention Centre, Kigali, Rwanda. PHOTO:

As the 2018 Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA 2018) draws close, the Rwanda Convention Bureau, the host for this year’s AMAA, said the event will serve to showcase Rwandan as an enviable conference and tourism destination.
The Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB), Dennis Benzinge Omani, who was in Abuja last weekend in the company of the founder of AMAA, Peace Ayiam Osigwe, stated that the Bureau, which is saddled with the responsibility of organising events for Rwandan government, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the organisers of the continental Award.
The MoU signing ceremony signaled the preparations for the Movie Award that comes up in September, and according to her, none in the creative industry should be left behind in the journey to discovering a new Rwanda.
The coming of AMAA to Rwanda, Omani noted, is an opportunity to grow the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) sector – a low hanging fruits in the tourism industry.
“It is an opportunity to grow the MICE sector because it fits into our agenda.  

Entertainment and events are part of MICE and as such, we see the hosting of AMAA as part of what we are supposed to be doing within that sector, and we are quite excited to have it come to Rwanda this year.”
Omani stated that a lot is being done to attract people into the country, which is fast becoming one of Africa’s destinations of choice.
“We believe we are an attractive destination; we believe that our tourism is one of the things that everybody is interested in seeing.

Above all, people want to understand why Rwanda has changed its narrative, and that is a very important point for us”, she added.
Speaking on the country’s art and entertainment industry, Omani admitted that the industry is in its growing stage with lots of young people showing enthusiasm and commitment.
While she was not specific on the kind of support, she however informed that the industry enjoys a lot of incentives from the government towards its growth, and with the creative community converging in the country; she said the industry would be greatly impacted.

“The music industry is growing and we hope that there would be a lot of influence from the Award.

We intend to get a number of artists from Nigeria that will influence our people. So, we are looking forward to that opportunity.”
Comparing Rwanda to Cape Town, which is a hub for filmmakers, she is optimistic that the rest of the world will see the country for the value it brings to the film industry across the world.
Speaking on the availability of necessary facilities for the hosting of the Award, Omani boasted of world-class infrastructures, including hotels and venues for the events.

Beyond that, she disclosed that the country has a lot of incentives for intending participants.
One of such incentives, she noted, is Visa on arrival, designed to eliminate all kinds of bottlenecks associated with visa procurement.
“So, we are not going to be worried about one thousand and one different levels of embassies like we had in different countries, and I think this is a major breakthrough for the film and creative industry.”
“Also, we have already agreed on the facilities, which are the best we have within Kigali.

It is currently the best in the South of Sahara.”

Although the country had been in the news for the wrong reasons, Omani is using the opportunity of AMAA to invite the world to a new Rwanda with a changed narrative.

According to her, there is peace in the country and intending visitors need not worry about security.
“We want people to come and discover the new Rwanda. 

Tourism is one of the best you can get. We have packages available for anyone who will want to come. 

Above all, our national career brings passengers directly from Abuja and Lagos as well as from other destinations to Kigali. 
“Rwanda is a place you can go out, even if you leave your phone, you can get someone to bring it to your hotel or wherever you are.

There is also night life in the country – the ability to go out as creative people.
But most people will definitely ask about the rational for choosing Rwanda.

The Founder, AMAA Award, Peace Osigwe, expressed worries that Africans are very backward in terms of domestic tourism.
According to her, this has denied many people the opportunity of visiting places and having firsthand information about countries and destinations.

She said:  “Last year, we went to Rwanda for nominations.

We went with some board members who had asked about our reasons for choosing Rwanda, but those who eventually came with us for the nomination had their impressions about the country changed.  
“Africans don’t travel within the continent and so, a lot of people don’t actually know what is going on.  

When you get into Rwanda and see the infrastructure, and when you see where we are about to host AMAA, you will be shocked that such venue exists within the continent.
“Rwanda has been doing a lot of businesses.

In the creative industry, we shout louder than anybody, we are going to tell the story to the world, and that is what I am waiting for. For me, it is one of the reasons for choosing Rwanda”, Osigwe stated.

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