A biodiversity meeting, convened by the Rwandan government in conjunction with UNEP – the United National Environment Program – took place last week in Kigali, bringing together a range of experts from the region and from around the globe. The UN is also celebrating the global World Environment Day in Rwanda this year under the theme, “Many species, one planet, one future,” and speakers at the conference made repeated reference to this event and the annual Kwita Izina gorilla-naming ceremony, which took place last Saturday in Kinigi at the foot of the famous volcanic mountains.
Rwanda’s economy depends on tourism to the country, and past years have seen steady improvements in arrivals, longer stays, and greater spending by visitors, all of whom come to enjoy the rich biodiversity of the “land of a thousand hills.”
While gorilla tracking remains the number one touristic activity in the country, making the country visible around the globe and earning them award after award, the Rwanda Development Board–Tourism and Conservation has been diversifying their product range and added new attractions in recent years, to widen the appeal for overseas visitors. Notably the MICE sector has exceled with new facilities being commissioned in past months and new projects now taking off, aimed at adding yet more conference and meeting facilities, as well as more top-of-the-range rooms in Kigali.
Participants in the conference also participated in some field work by planting trees at a formerly-degraded wetland area not far from Kigali, which is currently under restoration by the local community and government, having recognized the importance of intact wetlands as a source of water and key element for the local micro-climates across the country.