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Carmen Nibigira, PhD

Destination Management & Tourism Policy Analyst

A seasoned tourism policy analyst with over 20 years’ experience in the hotel and tourism industry in Africa and Europe. Carmen is a dynamic business leader with an international track record of delivering significant results in a variety of difficult, volatile markets. With extensive experience and deep domain expertise in the tourism business (destination management and tourism policy); cross-regional consultancy and most recently tertiary education. She is driven by her passion to catalyse change, initiate and oversee transformation and a deep desire to serve. She is an expert in pulling together strategic frameworks, building coalitions, fostering innovation and through lobbying, advocacy and communication driving substantial policy changes. Most of her development work and consultancy has been in emerging destinations and fragile states, Carmen has worked in different capacity as advisor to tourism boards, international and private organizations in East, Central and Western part of Africa. A passionate champion for building solutions that transcend national borders her interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence have infused her advocacy for inter – and intra-regional travel and tourism in the East African region. She served as a regional coordinator for East Africa Tourism Platform and a former Director General of the National Tourism Office in Burundi, her native country. She is at ease in most cross-cultural settings and is a determined inveterate adventurer who loves the challenge of learning all about new cultures through travel. Carmen was awarded the “African Women in Tourism Leadership Award” in 2018 and voted as one of the top 100 influential women in Travel in 2017. She is widely known for her courageous advocacy of quality education and socio-economic empowerment for women.
She is the Chair of the Rwanda Board of Directors of Davis College, an East African higher education institution. She also serves on the advisory board of Inkomoko, a business incubator in East Africa, an outlet for her interest in entrepreneurship.
Her PhD from Clemson University, USA was in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. Her area of specialism was policy and political economy of tourism as well as socio-political fabric of emerging tourism destinations. Her most recent areas of interest have been how to migrate businesses and institutions up the value-chain, by instilling a commitment throughout the culture of the enterprise to optimising customer experience.
Her doctorate built on her Bachelor’s Degree and her Masters both successfully completed from her time living in the United Kingdom. Carmen has what Carol Dweck calls a ‘growth mindset’ she is always pushing herself to learn more, widening her horizons through being an avid reader, and she’s a dedicated mentor to young people.

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