Lucky Rwandans born on July 4th will have a chance to win a $1500 permit to trek into the vast volcano park to see the rare mountain gorillas later in November.
“Only people that were born on July 4th aged 15 years and over are eligible. We intend to recognize the date when Rwanda was liberated because it coincides with a day when conservation struggle started,” Belise Kaliza, Chief Tourism Officer at Rwanda Development Board told journalists on Wednesday.
Rwanda Development Board has announced it will conduct a raffle draw to select 100 lucky winners. This is one of series of events organized to mark the 13th Kwita Izina- an international gorilla naming ceremony in Rwanda on September 1st.
Unlike in the previous Kwita Izina ceremonies where only baby gorillas received names, on September 1st four adult female gorillas and a group will also be named. 14 baby gorillas will be named.
Since the initial launch of Kwita Izina in 2005, a total of 239 mountain baby gorillas have been named.
She said that Kwita Izina will start on June 23rd with a series of community activities valued at a cost of Rwf 137 million and will climax with the main event in Kinigi sector, Musanze district on September 1st.
A gala dinner is also scheduled for August 26th. It will be followed by a 2-day conservation exhibition on June 28-29th and a conservation dialogue.
Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park rakes in more than 90% of all revenues generated from the parks. Twelve families of mountain gorillas that roam the vast volcano park are a major tourist attraction.
A permit to hike into the park and see these rare primates has since been increased from $750 per person until May up to $ 1500 for all nationals and non nationals. Rwanda was bitterly criticized while others commended the country for packaging itself as a high-end tourism destination.
Kaliza told journalists that visits to the park were not affected at all and 93permits are sold every day. She said that the number of visitors remained the same and revenues have increased, “Increase of permits’ tariffs is intended to enhance conservation.”
Rwanda Development Board has also introduced an exclusive package at a cost of $15,000 for tourists that may wish to visit an entire family of gorillas in their natural habitat.
“We have the same numbers of tourists coming for gorilla trekking. For your information, the high season is already fully booked,” Kaliza said.
She was joined by governor of Northern Province Jean Claude Musabyimana at a media Breakfast meeting to launch 13th Kwita Izina and related events on Wednesday.
Kwita Izina attracts hundreds of conservationists from across the world that fly in to name baby gorillas.
Other Kwita Izina events
Two primary schools will be launched including; Akagera Primary School in Rwimbogo sector, Gatsibo district and Rugera Primary school – adjacent to Nyungwe national park in Rusizi district on June 23 and 29 respectively.
In Kabatwa cell, Nyabihu district, a health centre adjacent to volcano national park will be launched on August 17.
Rwanda has increased tourism revenue sharing whereby communities neighboring national parks will be getting 10% of tourism revenues destined to construction of public infrastructure – schools, health centres and roads – up from 5%.
Between 2005 and 2016, the country spent Rwf 531 million on community activities.
There are 818 gorillas in volcano national park which is shared between Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and DRC.
In 2016, Rwanda earned $404 Million from tourism. The target is $444 million in 2017.