Nyungwe National Park has made the cut of seven from the continent short-listed for the 2013 World Travel Awards.
The accolade follows last year’s British Guild of Travel Writers’ Global Award that the park received for its efforts to harmonise tourism, wildlife and the agricultural community in one of Africa’s last surviving rainforests.
Nyungwe has been nominated alongside Kalahari Game Reserve (Botswana), Etosha National Park (Namibia), Kruger National Park (South Africa), Masai Mara National Reserve (Kenya), Serengeti National Park (Tanzania), and Kidepo National Park in Uganda.
Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, Clare Akamanzi, the acting chief executive officer of Rwanda Development Board, expressed optimism that Nyungwe would win the prestigious international award.
“It’s not the first time Nyungwe National Park is recognised for its rich biodiversity; last year the park won the British Guild of Travel Writers’ Globe Award. It’s because the park focuses on conserving the environment and at the same time promoting tourism,” Akamanzi said.
“Nyungwe Nziza” (Beautiful Nyungwe) Project was created to strengthen sustainable eco-tourism in and around Nyungwe National Park.
The rainforest national park is one of the world’s richest and most diverse eco-systems and home to 25 per cent of all of Africa’s primates and is home to a quarter of Africa’s species of primate, and to nearly 300 species of bird, constitutes one of the oldest and rarest high altitude habitats in central and eastern Africa.
The World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across sectors of the tourism industry.
The winners are voted by individual travel professionals and consumers worldwide. According to the World Travel Awards web site, last year’s winners were voted by people from over 170 countries.
Each year, World Travel Awards cover the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective successes with each key geographical region.
All regional winners then compete in a final round of voting to decide who walks away with the ultimate accolade in the travel and tourism industry.
The continental ceremony will take place in Nairobi on October 16, while the grand finale is set for November 30, in Doha, Qatar.
Last year, Rwanda’s tourism industry generated $281.8m (about Rwf178 billion) compared to $251.3m (about Rwf159 billion) the previous year, an increase of 17 per cent, according to the 2012 figures from the Rwanda Development Board.