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Rwanda Pioneers “Google MapUp”, to Boost Tourism

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The Department of Tourism and Wildlife Conservation at Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has launched “Google MapUp 2012” to boost tourism activities today Friday March 23, 2012 at Telecom House, Kacyiru-Kigali. Rwanda becomes the first country to benefit this Google product. Tourism is one of Rwanda’s priority sectors and a key foreign exchange earner.

“Google MapUp” is an event  where a group of people get together to map their world—focusing on specific areas such as town or city for cartographers to use Google Map Makers to add and edit roads, streams, schools and many more geographical features.

RDB has organized “Google MapUp 2012”, a two-day mapping exercise in main touristic (geographical) features of Kigali, Musanze, Rubavu and Karongi to provide tourists with an easy access to information they need to find their way around these touristic towns.

Rwanda is the first country in Africa to benefit this opportunity from Google to map her tourist destinations.
The exercise has cost RDB US$15,000 (over Rwf9million).
“This is an opportunity for Rwanda to illustrate that tourism is more than just gorillas” remarked Rica Rwigamba the Head of RDB/Tourism and Wildlife Conservation who presided at the launch ceremony which was also attended by representatives of Google, the private sector, hoteliers.

Google MapUp involves the use of technology driven programs intended to promote tourist and access to related information”
The chairman of Rwanda Hoteliers Association, Denis Karera welcomed the programs noting that it will encourage more tourists to visit Rwanda when they get clearer information of their destinations before they choose to visit (Rwanda).

“This will also encourage hoteliers to improve their services and customer care to meet the international standards,” he added.
The Rwanda Google Map Up has an additional value tour initiative of a website that has full details and contacts of all tourist points in Rwanda.
Officials of Google say that when the program succeeds in Rwanda, it will be replicated to the rest of Africa.

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