Tourism officials are optimistic that receipts to Nyungwe National Park could triple, from 4,500 tourists to over 13,000 visitors in 2011 with the optimism mainly a result of the newly launched canopy walk.
The boost in tourism from the canopy walk will also be coupled with the new modern “Uwinka” interpretation centre at Nyungwe, which will give tourists a chance to learn exciting facts and images dedicated to the National Park and its surrounding communities, such as the complete skull of the last elephant that was killed in Nyungwe Park.
According to Emmanuel Werabe, the official in charge of Quality Standards of Tourism at RDB, the canopy walk has successfully secured insurance from Phoenix Insurance Company and constantly gets checked by trained technicians to ensure that its safety is guaranteed.
“The 150 meters walkway is ready to be used. Although there is no fixed price for nationals as yet, foreign tourists will pay $50 to access the canopy walk,” Werabe told Business Times in a phone interview.
In partnership with USAID as the main sponsors, it took RDB six months and $1.5 million to complete the canopy. The canopy is 50 meters above the ground and gives tourists an exclusive view of the thick forest that covers 1,019 square kilometers, as well as local animal species, such as the blue monkey.
According to RDB, the canopy walk is the first in East Africa and third in Africa after those constructed in South Africa and Ghana; and will play a major part in ensuring that Rwanda’s tourism sector flourishes and improves in the coming years.
“Rwanda’s gains from the entire tourism industry are expected to rise by 6.4% this year and also generate about $187 million from $175 million that was realized in 2009,” a statement from RDB reads.