(eTN) – Although the planning for the new Bugesera International Airport is continuing on schedule, the Rwandan government is nevertheless committed to upgrading and modernizing the present Kanombe International Airport to keep it user friendly and able to cater to the sharply risen traffic experienced in recent years.
“We are a landlocked country and depend on air traffic more than others for our visitors to reach us, for urgent cargo to arrive by air,” said a senior aviation stakeholder when asked about the latest reports that the number of check-in desks at Kanombe was being doubled and the arrival capacity for baggage delivery also expanded by 100 percent. “We need to make Kanombe even more user friendly; this is the public face of Rwanda our visitors see when they arrive and when they depart. The country must give a positive impression to them on both occasions. It is not only the physical facilities, which are face-lifted and improved. We now have the latest technology for check-in and so forth in place, but lounges and shops also are on the agenda.
“More traffic often means that some flights come and go almost at the same time, so we require faster handling, which makes for shorter waiting and queues. There will be better and more parking also, and the entire package of our international airport is upgraded and made attractive for business to come and invest in extra facilities to serve travelers and people working here, but also Rwandans who want to come and see what our gateway looks like. But also very important is our staff here, and we have invested in training them, giving refresher courses and bring[ing] the latest information on aviation security, safety, and customer relations to them. Mind you, it is not the new check-in desk which makes the difference we seek, it is the people manning those desks and interacting with our passengers”.
Rwanda has, in recent years, made a huge and deliberate effort to upgrade and improve infrastructure across the entire country and roll out a human resource development program, which has paid off handsomely with investments pouring into the country on an unprecedented scale, and visitors are streaming to the “land of a thousand hills” in ever greater numbers, enjoying the natural and cultural attractions Rwanda has to offer.
Year-on-year results for the first quarter of tourism receipts show an increase from US$43 million to US$56 million in direct earnings, an indicator just how successful the quest for quality has been in Rwanda.