Bird watching: Rwanda to launch

Bird watching tourism should be promoted to diversify other potentials in the sector, an American consultancy group has advised.
Participants attending a one-day workshop on tourism at Hotel Novotel in Kigali. (Photo E/ Mucunguzi)
Participants attending a one-day workshop on tourism at Hotel Novotel in Kigali. (Photo E/ Mucunguzi)

Bird watching tourism should be promoted to diversify other potentials in the sector, an American consultancy group has advised.

Officials of the, ‘On The Frontier’ (OTF) believe the move will help government attract tap more export revenues and create more jobs in the country.

The group on Tuesday presented a birding tourism survey at Hotel Novotel to different stakeholders.

OTF, working with the government of Rwanda on several projects geared towards enhancing export competitiveness has said that the government needs to launch this new product on the international scene.

With a total of over 650 bird species, 44 of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift region, the OTF research results indicate that the government can earn over $11 million by 2012 if fully exploited.

Last year government collected $42 million from tourism compared to 2006 when it got $35 million. An increase of $11 million in tourism revenue would mean a 20.7 per cent increase by 2012.

The birding tourism was launched in October last year in Akagera but OTF says that the same must be done on international level to position the country as a strategic destination for birders.

However the report indicates that a number of other factors like developing sustainable birding guides and establishing dedicated birding association must be carried out.

The research results also indicate that the sector can create over 50 jobs next year and increased wages to employees can be realised.

"Rwanda must first focus on developing the most basic of birding resources, as they are the most important to a successful birding experience," the report reads in part.

It adds that given the relative saturation of avitourism market, Rwanda must differentiate itself from the beginning in order to gain competitive advantage.

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