In honour of Rwanda’s tremendous efforts to persistently promote and protect her natural resources to achieve even more sustainability and conservation, Rwanda’s tourism sector has been awarded the Global Tourism Leadership Award from the World Tours and Tourism Council (WTTC). At the World Travel Market (WTM) recently held in November 2017, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame was recognized for his dedication to Rwanda’s conservation and sustainable tourism.
The small land locked country suffered a violent genocide in 1994 and 10 years down the recovery lane, Rwanda gained recognition by the international community as one of the safest countries to visit in East Africa with a major focus on conference tourism, ecotourism and cultural tourism. The country has taken major steps to protect and market her natural resource that today is recognized as one of Africa’s top tourism destinations.
In 2015, the government with the collaboration of African park re-introduced lions in Akagera national park in efforts to revive the park’s wildlife diversity so as to receive more visitors looking for wildlife. Later eastern rhinos were also reintroduced to in the park in order to raise the status of Akagera national park.
Rwanda has taken an upper hand on promoting high-end tourism when she took a bold stand on doubling the price of her gorilla trekking permits in Volcanoes national park. The government aimed at reducing the pressure on the gorilla habitant which would intern became a threat on the lives of the critically endangered mountain gorilla species residing in the national park. Although hiking the gorilla permit was received with negative feelings, Rwanda managed to reduce the numbers of tourists planning for gorilla trekking in Rwanda while receiving fewer people who can afford the high price. Just one year down the road, Volcanoes national park is more natural with less visitors trekking through the jungle in search for mountain gorillas.
The government focuses on promoting conservation and contributing to poverty eradication by directly involving locales living around national park as they benefit from a tourism businesses through employment opportunities as tour guides, staff at lodges, supply of goods and services as well as dividends from profits gained from sells of gorilla permits from the government.
Tourism proceeds have been seen to double according to statistics from 2010 from USD 200 rising to USD 404 in 2016, a great boost to the country’s economy and budget. Records from Rwanda’s investment promotion committee of Tourism and Conversation Department reveal that tourism contributes the largest foreign exchange to the country’s budget and had been seen to grow consistently over the year.
Because of the country’s clear dedication to conservation, Rwanda has received a number of brilliant foreign investments. According the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the country has registered investment projects worth US$ 184.1m from 2012 which is projected to create over 1,000 jobs for Rwandans. Among the investors are big-name hotel brands like Marriott International, Radisson, Wilderness Safaris, one and only and many more brands coming up.