Birding projected to generate $12m by 2012

KIGALI - Reports from the Department of Tourism and Conservation indicate that the government is expected to earn USD12 m from birding due to the increasing potential in this recently established tourism product.
Rwandan birds expected to attract more tourists and fetch more foreign exhange
Rwandan birds expected to attract more tourists and fetch more foreign exhange

KIGALI - Reports from the Department of Tourism and Conservation indicate that the government is expected to earn USD12 m from birding due to the increasing potential in this recently established tourism product.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Rosette Rugamba, Rwanda Development Board Deputy CEO in charge of Tourism and Conservation, observed that there has been a steady increase in tourists interested in Rwandan birds.

“Birding as part of tourism is promising. We have a wide range of bird species, many tourists have showed interest in our birds, but we still have a few challenges here and there which we are trying to overcome.”

Among the challenges she noted lack of local bird guides who are trained in this field.

“The birding guides we have now come from South Africa and each one is paid USD500 a day. This is really expensive but we need them,” she noted.

She added that due to the mounting need for professionals in this field, tourists themselves have offered to foot the training of local birding guides and by the end of this year over 20 bird guides will have been trained.

She also said that among other strategies to ensure promotion of birding, a birding association comprising private people and sector employees has been set up.

“We are creating birding routes and buying equipment like cameras to be used and this year we expect to train over 20 birding guides as part of efforts to create our own professionals in the field,” Rugamba remarked.

In 2009 the tourism sector fetched over USD175 m and the figure is expected to rise this year.

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