A three-day Kwita Izina conservation and tourism exhibition opened Saturday at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village drawing participants from at least six countries in the region, with view to showcase a diverse array of tourism products and services.
The event is the first of its kind in the country which, officials say, seeks to create a platform to raise awareness about participating countries’ conservation efforts and to promote different tourist destinations.
The Kwita Izina conservation and tourism exhibition adds to an ever growing to-do list of buildup activities that precede the country’s annual Kwita Izina or gorilla naming ceremony.
And this year’s exhibition event, due to close today, comes just ahead of the 12th Kwita Izina ceremony, which will see international personalities, including conservation icons and activists, name 21 baby gorillas at the foot of the Virunga National Park, a habitat of hundreds of mountain gorillas.
Also held in line with the upcoming gorilla naming fete is the inaugural Kwita Izina Fundraising Gala on Friday, which raised Rwf25 million that will go into conservation efforts.
The two events – the exhibition and the fundraiser – are the latest additions to a wide range of innovations spearheaded by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and its partners in tourism and conservation with view to diversify the country’s tourism products and to raise its profile on the list of global destinations.
Tourism remains Rwanda’s top forex earner, fetching US$318 million in 2015, with a projected 5 per cent increase in revenue in the current year.
The sector’s importance to the country’s growth prospects cannot be overemphasized and, therefore, RDB and all the other public and private tourism and conservation actors need to continuously devise new ways and design new products to significantly increase the sector’s contribution toward the country’s development.
As a result, Rwanda will move closer to realising its full potential in tourism and to fully take charge of its development agenda.