Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is set to officially inaugurate three infrastructural facilities including classrooms and health center worth Rwf 137 million constructed for residents surrounding parks, the Chief Tourism officer at RDB, Belise Kariza has revealed.
Launching the facilities built under the government’s Revenue Sharing Scheme of giving back 5% of annual tourism revenues to communities will be part of preparations of 13th KwitaIzina annual event of naming gorillas scheduled on 1st September 2017.
The preparations of this year’s 13th KwitaIzina will be characterized by launch of two schools and a health center built for communities surrounding parks. These include classrooms at Akagera primary school in Rwimbogo sector, Gatsibo district which cost Rwf 16 million and the second phase of Gihorwe health center in Kabatwa sector, Rubavu district which cost over Rwf 22 million for completion.
The other project to be inaugurated is constructed classrooms, and school offices, special girls’ room all over Rwf 99 million at Rugera primary school bordering Nyungwe National Park.
Speaking to the media yesterday, the Chief Tourism officer at RDB, Belise Kariza explained that giving back part of tourism revenues to community has attracted residents’ participation in protecting park’s biodiversity.
She unveiled that over 600 projects worth Rwf 2.8 billion have been executed in 45 sectors in 12 districts bordering parks and received funding through Revenue Sharing Scheme which built health centers, schools, rehabilitated roads, availing safe water and sponsoring cooperatives among others.
Kariza said residents surrounding parks have also realized progress emanating from sales of products especially crafts to tourists.
“Such gestures are meant to promote social welfare of Rwandans through transforming tourism,” she said.
Statistics from RDB indicates that tourism earned $404 million in 2016 compared to $367.7 million earned in 2015, a 10% growth.
Tourism earned $303.7 million in 2014; $293.6 million in 2013; $281.8 million in 2012 and $ 251.8 million in 2011.
The government targets at least 25% annual increase of tourism revenues.