(eTN) – The first quarter results of Rwanda’s tourism sectoral performance were released, and the earnings confirmed by government sources are in the region of US$56 million, compared with a figure of only US$43 million last year, which ended as the best ever nevertheless.
Visitor arrivals also climbed by an astonishing 32 percent compared to the same period in 2010, underscoring the successful efforts by Rwanda to market the country abroad and portraying Rwanda as THE destination in Eastern Africa.
Sources contacted in the tourism industry attribute the success of the first three months of 2011 to a greater variety of tourism products and destinations, with one citing the Nyungwe National Park’s canopy walk, which since its commissioning last year, has already entertained thousands of visitors. Further forests are being considered for conversion into national parks and lake-based tourism activities are also now taking hold, offering yet more to see and to do when visiting Rwanda. New “birding routes” are also set to be launched later this year, allowing visitors to see the wide variety of birdlife resident in “the land of a thousand hills.”
The generous visa regime has also been cited as a key factor in attracting more and more visitors every year, with a number of important source countries not needing a visa at all, which sets Rwanda apart from all her East African partners.
In a related development, the theme of this year’s “Kwita Izina” gorilla naming festival was revealed, which is “Community Development for Sustained Conservation.” Twenty-two baby gorillas born since the festival last year will be formally named on June 18, and hundreds of extra visitors will be coming to Rwanda to participate in this event, which will be accompanied by a series of guest lectures, workshops on conservation and community relations, and sporting events designed towards the annual celebration.