By Diane Uwimana
On the occasion of the World Tourism Day, celebrated yearly on 27 September, Burundian artists complain about the lack of tourists to visit attractive sites and buy their works.
Sculptors and artists doing their activities at the Burundi national museum (Musée Vivant) complain about the lack of customers. "We increase artistic productions but few customers come to buy them. The number of tourists has significantly reduced", says Wenceslas Mashingano, a sculptor.
He says the number of tourists reduced following the crisis that erupted in 2015 when Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term in office.
He also says the Burundi national museum is not known by many tourists. "There is a need to advertise the museum to attract more tourists. On the contrary, sellers of our products in Bujumbura city center have more customers than us", he says. Jean Bosco, another sculptor says he could easily earn BIF 100 thousand before the 2015 crisis but can now spend a whole day without any customer.
"We have no choice but to continue producing our works. We believe that the current politico-security situation may change at any moment what can increase the number of tourists", says Hitimana. He also says sculptors and other artists prefer to export their products to the neighboring countries these days. "Our products are very much appreciated in the region. We, therefore, take advantage of the exhibition organized to get fare", he says.
Venant Igirukwishaka, Head of Burundi National Museum, says there is a need to advertise the latter in order to promote its species and attract more tourists as it is one of the most Burundi attractive sites. "We receive few tourists since 2015. The best way to make it widely known is to advertise it", he says. The museum contains crocodiles, snakes, a leopard, chimpanzees, some birds, natural and traditional trees, a royal palace where traditional tools used by Burundians were kept.
Marie Inès Mpundu, Chairperson of Hotels and Tourism sector in Burundi (HTB), says there are 126 touristic sites in the country among which 20 sites are the most visited. "Tourism sector is not developed in Burundi like in other countries of the region even if it generates revenues. Hotels and restaurants are not well managed. Attractive sites are far from the headquarters of provinces and tourists hardly get there", she says, adding that the tourism sector mainly needs support and advertisement.
Sadiki Elie, an archeologist believes that the attractive sites should be rehabilitated through the employment of young people. "The youth may contribute to the promotion of tourist sites by collecting other traditional tools and some animals that would attract more tourists", he says.
The World Tourism Day has been nationally celebrated in Karusi central province on the theme: "Sustainable tourism: A tool to serve people"
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