The Rwanda Development Board on Saturday announced an increase in the tourism revenue sharing rate for communities living around national parks from 5% to 10%.
The move is in line with Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy to strengthen conservation efforts and contribute more to the development of communities living around the Volcanoes National Park. Doubling the revenue sharing rate means that communities living around national parks will register more improvement in terms of development.
Under the revenue sharing strategy, over the last 12 years, more than 400 community projects have been completed including hospitals, schools, business development centres and water supply systems to facilitate access to clean water.
These developments are likely to more than double following this new development aimed at ensuring that projects directly benefit the people living around the parks.
Such initiatives also ensure sustainability as there is a sense of ownership from the communities that as a result view the national parks as a source of income for the wellbeing of every community member.
Such efforts coupled with regular sensitization against illegal acts like poaching will ensure that the tourism sector growth projections are achieved.
However, there is need for more sensitization about the need for the beneficiary communities to jealously protect national parkers from any illegal activities within and around parks.
Any strategies aimed at boosting tourism, should be supported, but it is important that all stake holders in these communities work in a coordinated manner.
Tourism revenue is projected to grow at a rate of 25 per cent until 2018, from $305 million generated in 2014 alone.
If communities around national parks continue getting such benefits, sustainable development will be achieved and Rwanda’s dream of becoming a middle income economy will be achieved.