The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has signed a 25-YEAR concession agreement with Imizi Ecotourism Development Ltd for the development of a multi-phased conservation and tourism management program in Gishwati-Mukura National Park, RDB said in a statement released on Saturday, April 27, 2019.
The concession agreement will see Imizi develop and operate an exclusive chimpanzee and primate trekking experience under the Wilderness Safaris brand, while RDB will oversee ecology and conservation initiatives including ranger presence, law enforcement, science, engagement of community cooperatives, human-wildlife conflict resolution, research and monitoring.
Imizi is a subsidiary of Wilderness Safaris, a premier conservation organization with a presence in seven African countries, and which operates Bisate Lodge (Volcanoes National Park) and Magashi Lodge (Akagera National Park).
Following the signing of the concession agreement, the RDB Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel Hategeka, said that they expect this new project in Gishwati-Mukura National Park to offer another unique world-class tourist experience, and draw even more visitors in Rwanda.
“It will be a valuable addition to other popular destinations including the Volcanoes National Park home to the rare Mountain Gorillas, Nyungwe National Park and the Akagera National Park home to the Big Five , that receive tens of thousands of guests every year,” he observed.
“Imizi’s investment in Gishwati-Mukura National Park reinforces further Rwanda’s pole position as a high-end sustainable tourism destination, and benefits the residents living around the park. The unique Gishwati-Mukura National Park chimpanzee and primate trekking experience is one more great reason to visit Rwanda, the safest destination in the region but also ranked fifth safest and most secure country globally”, Hategeka concluded.
Wilderness Safari CEO, Keith Vincent expressed that the signing of this agreement is an exciting development in their overall strategy to help take the Rwanda high-end ecotourism experience and its positive impacts on conservation and rural communities far beyond the gorilla experience.
“We envisage extended stays in the country where tourists are exposed to more of Rwanda’s unique attractions. The potential of Rwanda is undeniable and we feel privileged to partner with the Rwanda Development Board to unlock this in Gishwati-Mukura and elsewhere,’’ Vincent remarked.
Revenues from tourism in Rwanda amounted to $438 million in 2017, constituting almost 50% of all service exports. Some 94,000 tourists visited Rwanda’s national parks generating $18.7 million.
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