Akagera National Park tourists drop by 68% in 2020

On 11 February 2021 at 08:58

The management of Akagera National Park has revealed that they received 15,844 visitors in 2020 translating into 68% decrease compared to 2019.

Even though these figures were not expected, the part registered some progress.

“While these were not the figures we were anticipating at the beginning of the year, the year did show some positive trends including longer stays and a higher spend per person,” reads part of the park’s statement.

In 2019, the park registered 49,000 visitors generating US$1.5 million.

Akagera National Park is among parks accommodating Africa’s’ big five animals after reintroduction of some species including lions and rhinos.

The park is home to lions, elephants, buffalo, rhinos and leopards.

In 2019 Akagera was 90% self-financing, and the park was on the last stretch to self-sustainability. Unfortunately, soon after, the pandemic began to impact the park, like everywhere else, resulting in the temporal closure of Akagera National Park.

The Government of Rwanda was quick to react and worked hard to contain the pandemic and after a three-month lockdown, tourism activities in Rwanda resumed.

Akagera reopened in mid-June with the aim to recover from the knock of the pandemic.

While much of the world was under total lockdown, and several workers losing their jobs, Akagera National Park continued essential conservation work and while its rangers did not miss patrols.

“It is thanks to the ongoing support of African Parks’ major donors that we have had the resilience to ensure we remained operational with all staff fully employed. We are thankful that 100% of the 271 contracted members of staff in Akagera were retained on full pay despite closure and loss of revenues from tourism,” reads the park’s statement.