BUGESERA - Rwanda Development Board (RDB), together with partners in birding yesterday launched three new developed birding routes in Bugesera District in the Eastern Province.
The partners in birding include Rwanda Birding Association (RBA) and Rwanda Tours and Travel Agencies (RTTA) among others.
The new birding routes have been developed to promote the Avi-tourism industry through bird watching in the country
The program is also in line with diversifying the country’s tourism industry and experience offerings for continued growth and to realise the full potential of the industry based on the sustainable tourism master plan.
“The objective of bird awareness in Rwanda is to promote the understanding, appreciation and conservation of birds in the country, through bringing together the bird lovers and the local communities in the country,” John Gara, the CEO of RDB said.
Gara said that participatory bird watching in various sites in Rwanda is also an opportunity for those working outside nature conservation to enjoy, know and raise awareness about the avian communities and their habitats in the country
He noted that bird watching and eco-tourism are commercially developed in many industrialised countries, and developing countries are also following suit.
He added that Rwanda took this step to launch the three new developed bird routes outside the national parks and engage the local communities in the management of the birding routes.
According to statistics from RDB, bird watching is expected to contribute at least US$12m to the tourism sector this fiscal year due to the increasing potential in this recently established tourism product.
Gara further noted that Avi-tourism is a very sustainable, gentle form of tourism with great potential to generate revenues for local communities, the private sector and the entire economy.
In Rwanda, seven sites covering 274,535ha (10 percent of the size of the country), are currently confirmed as important Bird Areas (IBAs).
These include the three National Parks; Volcanoes, Akagera and Nyungwe. Other sites are Gishwati Forest, and the swamps of Rugezi, Akanyaru and Nyabarongo.
Rwanda’s IBAs are home to over 650 bird species Out of these, 475 are presumed to be resident while 117 are regular seasonal migrants.