Pierre Claver Nduwumwami, Director General of Burundi Business Incubator, says the hotel occupancy rate is very low as the number of tourists who come to Burundi is very low. “The purchasing power of domestic customers who occupy rooms in hotels is low,” he says.
He also says the tourism sector in Burundi is faced with serious problems. In order to cope with this, BBIN presented on Tuesday, 7 November, a strategic plan to promote it. It was validated by various partners in tourism industry.
Mpundu Marie José, Director of the Department of Hotels and Tourism, says this five- year validated strategic plan aims to provide professional training to hoteliers, rehabilitate tourist sites and make known Burundian tourism worldwide.
Hotel owners say the major problem they are faced with is the lack of customers. The average hotel occupancy rate is 10%, says Isaac Budabuda, owner of Marta Hotel.
“We invested in high class hotels. We expected to gain from foreign customers. Unfortunately, the number of tourists coming to Burundi is very low, “says Budabuda.
He says granting a Burundian visa is very difficult, which prevents tourists from coming to Burundi.
Some tourists canceled their trips to Burundi because they were refused a visa. “Every time we meet with government officials, we ask them to facilitate the issuance of Burundi visa to attract tourists,” says Budabuda adding that tourism can bring a lot of foreign currencies to the country.
He also asks the Burundian government to join the East African Community (EAC) common single tourist visa and introduce the Email-Visa to facilitate tourists.
The EAC plans to issue a single visa for tourists traveling throughout all the countries in the region in order to boost tourism. Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda have already introduced this single visa among them. Burundi and Tanzania haven’t yet joined their partners.