The tourism industry is Rwanda’s greatest economic earner in the country. This is seen through the large numbers of international trevels as well as locales getting involved in domestic tourism hence a good amount income brought in by the tourism sector.
Tourism in Rwanda is concentrated around the great mountain gorillas which are habituated in Volcanoes national park in the northwest of the country (about 2 hours’ drive from Kigali - Rwanda’s capital city). Since, the 1960s of Dian Fossey’s endless struggles for the conservation of these endangered wildlife species, mountain gorillas have been the major eye catch for many travelers from all over the world including even the world’s famous faces like Bill Gates, Natalie Portman and Ted Turner.
Many tourists flock Rwanda to catch a glimpse of these endangered species of wildlife – the mountain gorillas and also be a part of the baby gorilla naming ceremony at the foot of Volcanoes national park in Musanze province.
Tourism in Rwanda has brought this country to spot light. In the earlier years , Rwanda was seen go through some horrific turns with the 1994 genocide inclusive in which several lives and property were claimed, and some ecosystems were also destroyed and reduced in size forcing out the wildlife species.
As a trigger for its economic progress, the Rwandan government laid much emphasis on the development and reinforcement of her tourism sector and it has been quite a journey with continued wildlife conservation programs where strict rules have been enforced for travelers planning to see gorilla in Rwanda's volcanoes national park.
Today Rwanda is among Africa’s safest, cleanliest and fastest growing economies.
Currently Rwanda is amongst the African countries that are frequently visited by tourists from all over the world basically fying in for the mountain gorilla trekking activity which enjoyed at a cost of 750 USD (gorilla permits).These are normally obtained on the first come - first serve basis and therefore highly recommended that early bookings are made to avoid any disappointments. The money earned from these contributes to the conservation and protection of mountain gorillas and other wildlife species in their natural habitats.
In addition to gorilla safaris in Rwanda, there’s a lot more to explored in regards to the country’s natural beauty that’s a wide range of wildlife species like the buffalos, elephants, hippopotami, giraffes, zebras, lots of bird species which can all be enjoyed from either Akagera national park - Rwanda’s largest savanna park, Nyungwe forest national park – a thick forested montane area, Lake Kivu among others.
Recently, the tourism sector has recorded great success in Rwanda as compared to tourism in the other East African countries. The recent years show a gradual increase in the number of travellers flocking the country for its tourist destinations and activities. And this has led to the country’s development through the creation and maintenance of tourism centers, establishment and improvement of accommodation and infrastructure amenities, as well as opening of new tourists attractions like the cultural centers for example so as to keep the attraction on fire.
This vast increase in the development and performance of the tourism sector in Rwanda is due to a number of direct and indirect factors which are discussed as below;
Factors contributing to the increased tourism growth in Rwanda:
The Rwandan government has put endless efforts and struggles in the conservation and protection of wildlife especially for the case of mountain gorillas which has played a big role in the promotion of the tourism industry. The government of Rwanda under the Rwanda Development Board has established mountain gorilla and chimpanzee tracking guidelines which protect the animals and in addition to this, has promoted mass education of the local communities and permitting their participation in the protection and conservation of ecosystems thus holding firm tourism in the country. Therefore through government and non-governmental organizations, tourism has been able to develop and grow in the country.
In addition to this, the government of Rwanda has worked tireless for the reinforcement of peace and security in the country following the occurrence of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. This had impacted on tourism performance in Rwanda as many feared visiting the country but of late due to her endeavors to provide peace and security for both locals and foreigners, it has played a part in the growth of Rwanda’s tourism sector.
As a matter of fact, very many travellers flock the country for tourism destinations for gorilla tours, golden monkey and chimpanzee tracking, game drives, recreation activities, boat cruise etc.
The Rwandan government has also provided favorable grounds for the participation of private sector, investors and local communities to all play a role in the marketing and expansion of tourism in the country. This can be seen in the established mountain gorilla conservation programs which directly involve the Rwandan locals hence contributing to the strengthening and development of the tourism industry.