Rwanda’s tourism is growing rapidly due to her effort to preserve wildlife. Some of the preserved areas for tourism include Akagera National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park and Volcanoes National Park.
The positive results have been achieved due to strict government laws, wildlife preservation policies, community involvement in the preservation process among others.
What lessons can be learnt to improve other protected areas in Rwanda?
There are only a limited number of gorilla permits available, and therefore product diversification and promotion is required to encourage visitors (particularly repeat visitors) to stay longer, spend more money, and visit other destinations in the country.
Gorilla conservation needs to be balanced with research visits and tourism trips to ensure that the health of the gorillas and the integrity of their habitat are maintained.
Dedication and focused conservation on the key species (flagship) is important, but the contribution to the habitat/ecosystem conservation also has to be ensured. Long term dedication and partnerships in conservation (research, protection, and tourism) are essential.
Sustainability of gorilla tourism can only be achieved if transboundary and regional collaboration is established to conserve transboundary protected areas and cross border resources.
Standardized and high quality training for guides is needed, for those working within and outside protected areas.
A more diverse range of accommodation and restaurant facilities is required, with higher quality and better value for money.