The Gorilla Naming Ceremony- Kwita Izina, will for the first time in 16 years be held online due to the current coronavirus situation that has pushed most events to go digital.
The announcement was made this Friday by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) officials during a digital press conference which also stated that the naming ceremony will be conducted by the frontliners of conservation.
Namers will include the park rangers, guides, wardens, trackers and veterinary doctors to mention but a few.
In the past, Rwanda has hosted the annual event with big names, global and local celebrities to conduct the naming ceremony which always has come out with flare ceremonies.
It is an event where visitors taste the local culture and learn about gorilla conservation activities from the men and women behind the scenes.
RDB Chief Tourism Officer, Belise Kariza said that this year, 24 baby gorillas that call Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park home will be named.
“Having Kwita Izina virtually this year gives us the opportunity to celebrate those who are at the forefront of protecting the endangered mountain gorillas and share Rwanda’s conservation success with Rwandans,” Kariza said.
The 16th Kwita Izina event will be held on World Gorilla Day – 24 September 2020 under the theme “Conservation and Sustainable Tourism – A Foundation for Future Generations”.
With open international flights since August, Kariza also used the opportunity to call for more visitors to experience the beauty of the country and the wonders of gorilla trekking in their natural habitat.
“Rwanda is open for tourism, and the sector underpins so much of our conservation work. That’s why we are proud of the impact of sustainable tourism on our national development and environmental protection efforts,” Kariza said.
The practice of giving a name to a newborn baby, known as ‘Kwita Izina’, has been part of Rwandan culture for centuries. The name attributed to a baby gorilla plays a significant role in the ongoing programme of monitoring each individual gorilla in its family group and habitat.
In 2019, tourism generated US$ 498 million in revenues, a 17% growth compared to 2018 where tourism receipts stood at over US$ 425 million.
Rwanda received over 1.6 million visitors in 2019, among whom over 17,249 visited the majestic mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. The park permits sold were worth US$ 25.1 million, a 25% increase compared to 2018.
Despite the shortfalls in tourism activities since March 14, when the first case of coronavirus was recorded in Rwanda, government has embarked on boosting the sector with $50million set aside only for tourism recovery out of the $100million in the new Covid-19 economic recovery fund (ERF) launched recently.