TOURISM remains one of the key pillars of the economy of Rwanda. This is not only earning the country with foreign exchange but also enhances the protection of natural resources and touristic sites.
He made the remarks on Friday during celebrations to mark the World Tourism Day (WTD held annually on 27 September. The day, which was marked in Bushekeri Sector of Western Province’s Nyamasheke District, just at the edge of Nyungwe National Park, was held under the theme: “Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future”.
This year’s theme highlights the role of tourism in water conservation and access while also shining light on the actions currently being taken by the sector in order to contribute to a more sustainable water future as well as the challenges ahead. According to Kanimba, Nyungwe was chosen to host the celebrations because it remains Rwanda’s major water reserve. Nyungwe national park alone is the source of more than 70 per cent of Rwanda’s flowing water, making its conservation critical to the country’s future. Also Nyungwe is a unique and must-see tourism destination.
“Protecting Nyungwe forest equals to protecting a world valued natural resource,” Kanimba told thousands of residents, conservationists, environmentalists, tourists and officials who braved Friday’s heavy rains to mark the day.
He tasked residents to resist the ‘few remaining encroachers’ who continue to threaten the ecosystem within the natural reserve.
Nyungwe forest is one of the unique, richest, and most diverse eco-systems in the World. The natural rain forest is home to a variety of wildlife and plant species with over 86 mammals that include 13 primates, 285 bird species, and more than 100 tree species some of which are said to be found only in Nyungwe.
Tourism remains the foremost foreign currency earner for Rwanda, according to official figures. The sector generated more than $280(around RWF186billion) last year. Over a million tourists visited the country in the same period.
The World Tourism day was also celebrated with special activities to highlight the role of tourism in communities around the country. The two-day celebrations, which started on Thursday, consisted of a series of activities including the inauguration of the newly-accredited Kitabi College of Conservation and Environment Management (KCCEM), a specialized college mandated with producing skilled labour in environmental conservation and management.
Many tourists rash to need of tracking the amazing chimpanzees, enjoy a canopy walk, track colobus monkeys, nature walks, bird viewing among others.