The government of Rwanda through Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is in preparations for the annual baby gorilla naming that will be held on September 1 this year.
Rwanda |Susan Babijja| The naming dubbed ‘‘Kwita Izina’ will see 13 baby gorillas named. The naming ceremony was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating greater awareness of conservation efforts and of thanking communities for their ongoing and valuable support of these initiatives.
The year marks the 13th edition of the annual flagship event in conservation that brings together enthusiasts from all over the world to celebrate Rwanda’s success in protecting an endangered species. The naming will be held under the theme; ‘‘Conservation and sustainable tourism a foundation for future generation’’
The ceremony will include a gala dinner on August 26 where industry leaders will raise funds for conservation projects, this will be followed by a two-day conservation and tourism exhibition targeting the general public and stakeholders. There will also be a summit on conservation slated on August 28 and 29 before the main celebrations in Musanze
Speaking at a breakfast meeting in Kigali Belise Kariza Chief Tourism Officer BRD said Rwanda’s conservation journey has been more rewarding within the past decade, because of the involvement of local communities with in the entire tourism and conservation industry to uphold responsibility and sustainability to biodiversity.
‘‘This year, two community projects in education and one in healthcare will be launched under the revenue sharing scheme. Akagera primary school, Nyungwe National Park and the second phase of Gihorwe Health post in Kabatwa sector,’’ she said
The mentioned projects have been in the pipeline since 2013 and 2014, with additional developments that will continue to transform institutions into 12 year basic education schools as well as fully equipped and operational health post
Tourism collects about $444 million (about Rwf370 billion) in 2017, up from $404 million last year. However in May, the fee for gorillas trekking permit was revised from $750 to $1,500. Gorillas continue to be among the top tourism attractions in the country. Last year, 22,219 gorilla permits were sold, raising about Rwf15.6 billion.
According to Kaliza, there have been some high cost investments made in line with the ambitious tourism goals such as the Bisate Lodge by Wilderness Safaris in Kinigi, which will be launched this year. Singita Luxury African Safari Lodges Reserves, is expected to open their facility in 2019.
The increase in revenue is due to continued tourism promotion efforts as well as the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events and Exhibitions (MICE) strategy.
Northern Province Governor Jean Claude Musabyimana said the communities living around the conservation areas have benefited from the growth of the tourism sector.
He said the revenue sharing model has seen the communities get better infrastructure, quality healthcare and education, which has encouraged them to champion conservation efforts.
Tourism earned $303.7 million in 2014; $293.6 million in 2013; $281.8 million in 2012 and $ 251.8 million in 2011.
The government targets at least 25% annual increase of tourism revenues.