Red Rocks Rwanda’s initiative helps link locals with tourists

Red Rocks Rwanda’s initiative helps link locals with tourists

Red Rocks Rwanda’s initiative helps link locals with tourists

Since its establishment in 2011, Red Rocks Rwanda has been active in linking tourism and community development by training tour guides to equip them with the skills they need to chaperone tourists within Nyakinama village, seven kilometers west of Musanze town, northern Rwanda.

One of the tour guides who have gained from this initiative is Peterson Akandida. He says that he joined Red Rocks Rwanda as a trainee in catering from college in 2016, but now he has been trained in tour guiding, a profession he says has helped him to link the community with tourists who visit Red Rocks Rwanda. Red Rocks Community Guide is one of the projects that the center established since its inception as part of uplifting the living standards of local youths. It is designed to mutually benefit the local community in Nyakinama and the wider Volcanoes National Park by meeting the increasing demands for guiding services and to stimulate economic growth within the local community.

“My main role as a guide is to act as a translator for visitors and the locals who may have a language barrier. There are many tourists who wish to participate in cultural activities like basket weaving and making of traditional banana and millet beer when they visit here, but unfortunately most of the locals cannot speak English,” says Akandida.

He adds that his daily activities also involve leading a group of tourists around Musanze’s attractions, villages and any other important places tourists would wish to visit, such as local schools and hospitals.

“We are representatives of Red Rocks Rwanda from where we nurtured our skills. Our other major role is to promote Rwanda’s cultural and natural heritage and to make visitors be aware of the importance of our culture and nature,” he says.

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Akandida adds that they also help travelers to understand the culture, history and way of life of the local community.

“Since as guides we know the importance of places within the community, it’s our responsibility to precisely explain this to visitors in a language they can well understand,” he says.

Akandida further says that to be a tour guide, you not only have to be skilled in the profession in terms of language proficiency, but you also should be honest, trustworthy, flexible, disciplined and resilient.

“Here we deal with tourists from different backgrounds all over the world, and not any two tourists are going to have similar demands and traits. We have to accommodate them even if sometimes one or two may get into your nerves because of seemingly impossible demands,” says the tour guide.

Akandida adds that the Red Rocks tour guiding initiative has helped the local community to have a stronger connection with visitors, adding that as tourism continues to develop in Musanze in general and Nyakinama in particular, thanks to Red Rocks Rwanda, the growing demand for the guides is ever increasing and that’s why they are continuing with the program to train more guides at the center.

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