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Improving local tourism benefits in Rwanda

30 May 2008

District authorities were guided around by one of the socially-minded private tourism operatorsAdvocates for nature conservation and economic development are increasingly pursuing mutual objectives. On May 30th they have once again joined forces in Rwanda, as the IES and SNV Rwanda organised an excursion to create awareness on the potential of tourism enterprises for local development.

District authorities around Volcanoes National Park and ORTPN representatives were invited to visit tourism enterprises that truly benefit local communities and discuss about their own roles to stimulate more of these.

Volcanoes National Park is threatened mostly by local people looking for many sorts of natural resources in the forest. The rationale for this excursion was that, if these communities get their income or employment from forest-based tourism activities, they will become more truly supportive of forest conservation. The tourism sector in Rwanda is already booming business, but in order to make sure local people also profit from this, they need to be more involved in the sector.

As district authorities can play an important role in stimulating this, the excursion took them, together with ORTPN, SNV and IES representatives to some socially-minded private tourism operators, which explained the challenges and benefits they found in actively involving and training many local staff.

Both from environmental and socio-economic perspective, the excursion has yielded good prospects for a more pro-active position in promoting more local involvement in the tourism sector, thereby promoting nature conservation.

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