Rwanda sign park concession agreement with major Ecotourism Operator
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) on Saturday signed a 25-year concession agreement with Imizi Ecotourism Development Ltd, one of the major African gaming operators, for the development of a multi-phased conservation and tourism management program in Gishwati-Mukura National Park in the western part of the country. The official statement said the concession agreement will see Imizi develop and operate an exclusive chimpanzee and primate trekking experience under the Wilderness Safaris brand.
It said Rwanda’s Government will oversee ecology and conservation initiatives including ranger presence, law enforcement, science, engagement of community cooperatives, human-wildlife conflict resolution, research and monitoring.
Commenting on the new move, RDB Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel Hategeka, said: “We expect this new project in Gishwati-Mukura National Park to offer another unique world-class tourist experience, and draw even more visitors in Rwanda”.
According to the senior Rwandan official, 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.
“This 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,” he said.
According to the communiqué, 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.
“Rwanda is ranked fifth safest and most secure country globally”, Hategeka said. 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).
Formerly encroached, Mukura-Gishwati reserve in Western province will join Volcanoes (North), Nyungwe (South West) and Akagera (East) national parks respectively as Rwanda seeks to boost tourism. Currently the new park has Ha 3, 558 and Ha 962 of buffer zone.
Source: Journal du Cameroun