20 February 2013

Rwanda: Apply Checks and Balances in Tourism Sector


Rwanda's tourism sector has registered tremendous growth in the last couple of years, thanks to the efforts of all the stakeholders, in wooing visitors to our beautiful country. This is important for the growth of the economy as it means more foreign exchange earnings and more jobs and business opportunities for the country and its people.

However, as we bolster efforts to attract more people to our country, how prepared are we to handle the resultant negative effects, especially environmental degradation and unplanned development, without proper regulations?

It is, therefore, important that proper safeguards are put in place to ensure sustainable use of natural resources; the game parks, lakes, rivers, mountains and so forth. If not, all our efforts will be in vain due to environmental degradation and depletion of some animal and plant species.

We do not want this to happen. Thus, it is the responsibility of the Rwanda Development Board to establish mechanisms to guarantee that we use our resourcces sustainably. Although no widespread cases of environmental degradation have been reported in the sector, it is always better to be forearmed.

Besides, if we only focus on attracting tourists without checks and balances, what will the future generations depend on?

If our parks and mountains are degraded, it would mean we shall have undone all the gains made so far as no tourists will want to visit a country that does not take care of its rich resources.

So how do we attract more visitors and earn more foreign exchange without endangering our natural resources? The best way to do this is to put in place apposite laws and guidelines that promote sustainable use of our resources.

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