Rwanda Sees An Influx Of Mountain Gorilla Tourists

Posted on November 24th 2019

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Gorilla

In 2018, the Rwandan government sold tourists 15,132 mountain gorilla permits raising US$19.2 million, exceeding the $15 million raised in 2016 before the price of permits was doubled from $750 to $1,500 in 2017. The figure was released by a Rwanda Development Board official in the country’s capital Kigali. The central African state has seen an increase in the demand for tracking permits for mountain gorillas says an official spokesperson from the RDB.

Kwita Izina naming ceremony

The comments were made to the press during a conference held to about the annual gorilla naming ceremony locally known as Kwita Izina which was held in September in Northern Rwanda Muszane district. 25 baby gorillas were born over the course of late last year and first half of this year. A number of celebrities participated in the event including Naomi Campbell, singer Ne-Yo, Football manager Louis van Gaal and former Arsenal captain Tony Adams.

Tourists numbers rising

In 2018 Rwanda hosted 1.7 million tourists marking an 8 per cent increase compared to the previous year. The increase was largely thanks to government efforts to promote the country as a tourist destination on the African continent. Revenues generated by national parks exceeded $20 million last year up from $18 million in 2018. Mountain gorillas are an endangered species with less than 1,000 remaining in the wild.

Raising awareness

Mountain gorillas live in the Virunga Mountains which is made up extinct volcanoes that straddle the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and the Rwanda. There is a second location where they can be found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The government of Rwanda established Kwita Izina in 2005 with the goal of raising awareness around its conservation efforts for the iconic mountain gorilla. For the thirty years before the first official naming ceremony, baby gorillas were named by rangers and researchers.

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