The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has named Kwita Izina, Rwanda’s annual gorilla naming ceremony among the finalists of the innovation tourism awards.
The annual UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism were announced in Madrid, on December 11.
The four award categories include: Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance, Innovation in Enterprises, Non-Governmental Organizations, Research and Technology
The Kwita Izina initiative was listed in the category of the 2013 UNWTO Ulysses Awards for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance. Others in the same category include: Interactive System of Tourist Information, Office of the Marshal of the Pomorskie Voivodeship (Poland) and Responsible Tourism Project at Kumarakom, Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala (India).
The winners will be unveiled during the UNWTO Awards Ceremony to be held on 22 January 2014. The Ceremony organized, for the first time, in collaboration with the International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) in Madrid, Spain, is one of the several events organized by UNWTO within the framework of FITUR.
Kwita Izina, annual naming ceremony of gorilla babies, was conceived as a way to promote the conservation of the critically endangered mountain gorilla, by celebrating new births.
Rwanda is one of the few countries in the world where you can encounter these gentle giants in the wild, by taking a gorilla trekking safari, along with Uganda and the DRC.
This event attracts high-profile figures, senior government officials, key foreign dignitaries, hundreds of renowned conservationists, international celebrities and media practitioners and thousands of Rwandans mostly residents near Volcanoes National Park, home for the rare mountain gorillas, actively participate in it.
This year’s 9th edition that took place on 22nd June in Musanze, near Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda saw twelve gorilla infants and one new gorilla family named.
Gorilla tourism in Rwanda has proven hugely successful in recent years, generating local employment and tourism-related revenue.
In a 2010 census, Rwanda had a 26.3 percent growth of mountain gorillas for 2003 which was amazing in just seven years and 90 percent of the receipts got from park entrances are from the mountain gorillas.
Recent records indicate that for the first semester of 2012, Tourism revenues increased by 11 percent compared to the same period in 2011. The tourism sector is estimated to have generated US $128.3m compared to US$115.6m generated in the same period last year.
Currently, Rwanda has the only gorilla population that hasn’t decreased because more gorilla populations elsewhere have been decreasing. One of the things that are done to make it sustainable is through trans-boundary cooperation between Uganda, the DRC and Rwanda to govern the three national parks and maintain the gorillas against poachers.
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