Editorial: New tourism deal vote of confidence in Rwanda’s growing status as a top destination

Rwanda Development Board last week penned a concession agreement with a private firm for the development of a conservation and tourism management programme in Gishwati-Mukura National Park, one of the latest additions to a range of premier tourist attractions in the country.

The 25-year deal with Imizi Ecotourism Development Ltd, a subsidiary of Wilderness Safaris, an international conservation company, will see the private operator fully restore the park to an exclusive chimpanzee and primate trekking destination.

The firm will invest its own resources while it will also be paying a concession fee to RDB.

According to the agreement, RDB will oversee ecology and conservation initiatives, including ranger presence, law enforcement, science, engagement of community cooperatives, human-wildlife conflict resolution and research and monitoring. This will help create more opportunities to surrounding communities and the nation in general.

The development of Gishwati-Mukura National Park is a major boost to the tourism sector, a leading foreign exchange earner for the country.

Over the years Rwanda has consolidated its status as a top destination, increasingly diversifying its tourist products and experiences on offer.

With the full restoration of the Akagera National Park, now home to the Big Five; the ever-thriving Virunga National Park, natural habitat for endangered mountain gorillas; Nyungwe National Park, known for rare species of birds, canopy walk, a range of primates, among others; and a series of other tourist products across the country, Rwanda was already on the way up as far as tourism was concerned.

The planned development of Gishwati-Mukura can only help cement the country’s status as a top destination, with tourists now set to spend even more time visiting and enjoying the countryside.

Notably, the major gains made in the tourism sector in recent years are thanks to the peace and security that the country enjoys. Never before have Rwandans and foreigners alike felt so secure in the country, ranked among the most secure globally. 

The Gishwati-Mukura deal could not have come at a better time.