Tourism value chains in East Africa

  • The importance of tourism for economic growth in Rwanda is hard to overstate. Tourism revenues are now more than double those of its next biggest export, tea. All of its other major exports are strongly beholden to international commodity price fluctuations, making revenues highly unreliable.
  • Tourism is a strong job-creating sector in the wider region, however it has historically received less attention and investment than its more traditional sectors, meaning that it still operates quite far below capacity
  • This brief uses the Global Value Chains (GVC) framework to assess the potential and best opportunities for upgrading within the Rwandan and Ugandan tourism industries. It breaks the sector into three categories of actors – consumers, distribution intermediaries, and service providers – and three separate value chains: leisure, business, and conference.
  • The researchers provide a series of policy recommendations that are designed to promote three broad goals: regional integration, firm-level upgrading, and country-level upgrading