The Kivu Belt DMU is a coalition of private and public tourism related actors working towards a common goal of developing the Kivu Belt as a sustainable adventure and eco-tourism destination.
The main objective is sustainable economic development and job creation in the Kivu Belt. This is achieved through conservation, restoration and sustainable use of eco systems for tourism, inclusion of communities in the tourism economy, promotion of sustainable travel to the destination, sector development and coordination of actors and their activities.
“The Kivu Belt DMU is a voluntary coalition of private and public tourism actors working towards the common goal of developing the Kivu Belt as a tourist destination.“
Rwanda is one of the world’s most attractive Eco-tourism destinations. Most of Rwanda’s attractiveness and touristic activity outside of Kigali is centered around the country’s national parks and eco-tourism sites. Rwanda has a many successful examples of eco-tourism as a successful driver of conservation projects with Volcanoes and Akagera National Parks as the most famous examples. To ensure continued growth of tourism in Rwanda, new eco-tourism sites need to be developed. The Kivu Belt has many degraded eco-tourism sites in need of restoration. Unfortunately, the private tourism sector, who often rely on these resources for business are unable to develop these sites as they are not viable from purely a commercial perspective. Collaboration between public and private sector is key to restore, develop and manage these sites. Restoration and proper management of many eco-tourism sites would create employment, mitigate poverty and build more resilient communities while combating climate change, restore eco systems and halt biodiversity loss.
Economic, environmental and socially sustainable practices are crucial for the continued development of tourism in the Kivu Belt. The Kivu Belt DMU supports and promotes the use of sustainable tourism practices through advice, direct projects and through the implementation of all its activities and support of its actors.
Community based tourism has been highlighted as key to development of Rwanda’s tourism offering while creating sustainable sources of income to local communities. Community based tourism are often supporting activities in tourism and in Rwanda they rely on other key tourism sites such as the national parks to attract tourists to their vicinity. Communities gain revenue by offering experiences and selling local products to visitors. The Kivu Belt DMU enables local communities to take part in the tourism economy through capacity building and by serving as a common marketing and sales platform for local tourist products
The Kivu Belt Destination Management Unit works to increase the awareness and develop the Kivu Belt brand as a sustainable eco-tourism and adventure destination. Key success factors of the brand are the promotion of sustainable practices in the Kivu Belt, proper development and management of key attractions using innovative tools in promotion of the brand to key markets.
Culture is crucial for sustainable development. Culture and heritage have a positive impact social and economic impact, it can establish and reinforce identity and help build a common sense of belonging. Respecting, preserving and promoting cultural diversity enable intercultural dialogue, have a preventive effect on conflicts and protect the rights of groups which are marginalized. Culture can be preserved and promoted through tourism.
Tourism is complex in nature involving many different actors and stakeholders who cut across different sectors. Coordination is crucial for all actors to work towards common goals, with a common brand and to identify and overcome common issues. Kivu Belt DMU serves as platform for all public and private tourism stakeholders operating in the Kivu Belt to be able to address similar challenges and opportunities that contribute to the development and sustainability of tourism in the destination.
Tourism is in a constant state of change. Tourism in Kivu Belt needs to be able to evolve to meet the demand of tomorrow’s visitor and to face common challenges. Today’s needs are closely linked to the current Covid-19 pandemic, digitalization and decrease of practices which spur climate change. The sector’s needs might be different in the future which is why it is important to drive relevant sector development throughout the destination.
The Kivu Belt Destination Management Unit is part of Rwanda’s Chamber of Tourism. The DMU is organized into three bodies. The Core Group is the largest body where all public and private stakeholders in the Kivu Belt are represented. The Core Group serves to collect stakeholder input and for communication between different actors. The Strategic Advisory Group is a smaller body of key decision makers. The Strategic Advisory Groups serves to make key decisions on plans and implementation based on stakeholder input and to give strategic advice to the DMU. The Secretariat is the operations of the DMU who carry out the activities put forward and approved by the Strategic Advisory and Core Groups.
The DMU core group consists of private and public tourism actors operating in the Kivu Belt or whose main offer is the Kivu Belt Region. The DMU Core Group serves as a platform of tourism actors committed to join hands for the development and promotion of the Kivu Belt. Participation in the different DMU activities is voluntary and depends more on the interest and willingness to put efforts together with other players to promote the destination.
Provides strategic guidance to the DMU