Rwanda steps up regional tourism agenda, fits Kwita Izina in Northern Corridor calendar

16870325848 67fa48ea78 zKigali, June 10, 2015… This year’s edition of the annual Mountain Gorilla-naming ceremony also known as Kwita Izina will be held on 5th September in Kinigi, at the foothills of the Volcanoes Mountains in Northern Rwanda.

The Rwanda Development Board’s Chief Tourism Officer, Ambassador Yamina Karitanyi, announced that the theme for the ceremony is ‘Conserving now and for the future’, as part of a broader focus on the benefits of Kwita Izina as a conservation initiative.

“Through Kwita Izina, we will not only celebrate the birth of 24 baby gorillas, but will also acknowledge the impact that local communities have had on sustained conservation. Together, we have worked with rangers, guides, conservation groups and local communities to take proactive steps to restore and enhance the habitat of not only the gorillas but of other wild life as well,” Ambassador Karitanyi said.

As part of joint tourism promotion countries within the Northern Corridor Initiative had decided to give each member country a period to specially focus on a flagship tourism event. Kwita Izina, being Rwanda’s flagship tourism event, was thus moved to September. In light of this, other initiatives are being undertaken to promote tourism jointly with the private sector; these include a current domestic and regional tourism campaign, events and joint marketing activities under the Northern Corridor Initiative.

The President of the Rwanda Tour and Travel Association, Joseph Birori, indicated that; “Kwita Izina is a great opportunity for industry players to interact with regional and international operators through B2Bs, it is also an add- on activity which we include in the packages we make for tourists. This year, we have ample time to plan and get involved in the naming ceremony.”

The Chairman of the East African Business Council, Dennis Karera, said; “The Government of Rwanda has created a secure and enabling environment for businesses to thrive. With the East Africa Single Tourism Visa, there is easy movement of tourists and so it is up to us as the private sector to take advantage of all these opportunities.”

Kwita Izina will be marked by various activities that will culminate in the Gorilla-Naming ceremony. The week will commence with Inka Z’URwanda, a cultural ceremony focusing on the importance of cows in Rwandan tradition and the impact on the social well -being of the people living in different areas of the country, which will be celebrated in the Eastern Province.

Other activities planned for the week include a Conservation Forum, a photo exhibition, a business exhibition, a Familiarisation Trip and Regional Tourism Business to Business Forum, launch of a Community Project and the Community Igitaramo. Kwita Izina awards will be launched to recognise local conservationists for their lifetime achievements and contributions to the wildlife conservation and tourism.

Later this year, Rwanda under the Trans boundary Collaboration will carry out a Mountain Gorilla census that will determine the current mountain gorilla population. Between 2003 and 2010, the population rose by 26.3 per cent.