The New Times (Kigali)

13 November 2011

Rwanda: Tourism Sector Not Affected By Volcanic Eruption

The eruption of Mount Nyamuragira in the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose lava spread to the Rwandan side, has not affected the tourism sector, officials from the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) confirmed to The Sunday Times.

The mountain located about 25 km north of Lake Kivu, erupted on Tuesday evening spewing lava into the neighbouring Virunga National Park.

However, according to an official, no animal has been affected.

"Tourism is not affected and we don't expect it to. The demand of tourists visiting that area is still increasing and the number of tourists coming to visit the gorillas remains the same," Faustin Karasira, acting Head of Tourism and Conservation in RDB, said.

Mt. Nyamuragira is Africa's and one of the world's most active volcanoes which erupts approximately every two years.

According to Dr Jean Felix Kinani, a wildlife veterinary officer in the area, lava is flowing within Virunga National Park.

He also said that a team from the park has already started monitoring all the animals to ensure their safety.

"Today, Virunga Park officials have started monitoring the area where lava is flowing to ensure that no animal is affected."

The park is home to 200 endangered mountain gorillas.

Vincent Nsengiyumva, a resident from Gisenyi District, observed that gases were visible from the DR Congo side, especially at night.

He, however, added that people in surrounding areas are not afraid since the eruptions are fart from them.

Rwanda was recently singled out among the main tourist destinations in the world and Mountain Gorillas are a major tourist attraction.

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