The New Times (Kigali)

7 November 2012

Rwanda: Consolidate the Gains in Tourism and Environmental Conservation

editorial

Rwanda has once again recieved international accolades for devising exemplary projects to develop its tourism sector while sustainably managing its natural environment.

Nyungwe Forest's Project Nzinza, a product of Rwanda Development Board, was recently recognised by the British Guild of International Writers as a role model project which other national parks should copy to protect their green environment.

The project under which Nyungwe National Park is managed was also hailed for satisfying the needs of neighbouring communities that used to encroach on the forest for agriculture.

Protecting the natural environment against challenges like land degradation and extinction of animal species is critical for the future.

There is a direct link between environment sustainability and tourism. Take for example the mountain gorillas of the Virunga- they are a rare species that can only be found in east and central Africa. They lead tourism attraction in Rwanda, a sector that has grown over the years with revenues increasing by 11 per cent between January and June this year compared to the same period last year.

Nyungwe Forest too is one of the few best preserved rainforests on earth and is home to a variety of tree and animal species- it is a paradise for researchers and tourists who travel all the way across the world just to have a glimpse.

Therefore, to continue gaining from such uncommon natural resources, government should continue to promote projects that consolidate the link between preserving the environment and promotion of tourism.

This is probably the only way we can ensure that our tourism sector remains sustainable and the preferred destination in the region.

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