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It Was A Privilege To Serve

Kwaheri Ya Kuonana from Rosette Rugamba

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Mar 30, 2010

Rosette Rugamba, the outgoing director general of target="_blank">ORTPN (Rwanda's Office of Tourism and National Parks) and deputy CEO of the Rwanda Development Board – Tourism & Conservation, has made the following statement available to this correspondent to thank her friends in the tourism industry across the world for their support in promoting Rwanda over the past 7 years that she was at the helm of the organization.

“Seven years ago I joined the government of Rwanda as director general of ORTPN with the challenge to transform the tourism sector into one of the economic drivers for the country. I leave the government to continue playing a role in the development of tourism in the private sector, proud of many achievements and in awesome gratitude to His Excellency President Paul Kagame and the government of Rwanda for their resolute support every single day during my tenure.

“Over the years, I had the honor to lead a team of dedicated and enthusiastic staff who never tired playing host to the increasing number of visitors who came to see the thousand hills and marvel at the thousand initiatives our country was driving in every sector, every day. Every day from dusk to dawn, through thundering rain and scorching sunshine, our guides have made Rwanda a respected and sought-after destination. Because of their commitment, our walls and shelves are adorned with awards from around the world. The team at ORPTN and lately at RDB made my role enjoyable, doable, and rewarding. I thank each and every one of them past and present - you will always be valued and remembered.

“Central to the success Rwanda Tourism enjoyed was the confidence of the indigenous private sector who took the leap of faith and invested in infrastructure and in the service sector. Their commitment ensured we had a united team when we represented our country at international events and ensured that the 692,000 visitors coming to Rwanda found world-class hotels, restaurants, cafes, and travel agents eager to make the visit a memorable one. With their support, we grew our hotel capacity from 650 in 2001 to over 4,800 today. To them I say thank you; no words can express my gratitude to you all.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the right Honorable Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Honorable members of the Senate, the Parliament, my colleagues in government, the Rwanda Defense Force, and the Rwanda National Police, who were partners who strengthened and complemented our sector. Together, we marketed Rwanda by offering our capital city and major towns as conference destinations for millions of visitors who came for conferences and discovered a country of so much wonder. Together, we ensured their safe passage in Rwanda, and we made our country one of the safest destinations. The spirit of this support anchored our success and protected us from any challenges that presented themselves.

“It is difficult to say thank you to our President whose wise counsel, availability, and determined support was forthright; when we asked His Excellency to launch domestic tourism, he did not hesitate, as he never did, making many journeys to name and officiate in Kingi at Kwita Izina. He never tired receiving the numerous international visitors who sought his presence or when we needed the highest endorsement to secure investment in our sector. Thank you, sir, for hosting us when we returned in triumph from Berlin, and thank you for raising the bar and challenging us to be the best we could be.

“It was an honor, humbling experience, and privilege to serve my country.”

Kwaheri Ya Kuonana - goodbye, until we meet again.

Kwaheri Ya Kuonana from Rosette Rugamba
Rosette Rugamba / Image via

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