The Growing American Fascination With Rwanda

Some 20% of the total revenue from tourism within Rwanda comes from American travellers. Not only does it offer the safest spot for holidaying in Africa, but it also boasts numerous activities, including bird and gorilla watching.

In 2014, a total of 1,220,000 visitors travelled to this area, which was an increase of 9% on the 1,122,000 travellers that were seen in 2013. And the largest proportion of tourists that went to the location in 2014 were American, with a total of 24,488 visiting. The second-largest group were Indian, totalling 13,008 visitors, followed by 12.320 from the United Kingdom, 8,733 from Belgium and 8,228 from Germany.

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Large Amount Generated from Tourism

According to the Rwanda Development Board, 2014 saw $304.9 million generated from tourism, compared to $293.6 million in 2013 – an increase of 4 per cent. Since 2000, this revenue figure has increased by $62 million.

One of the most popular reasons for tourists visiting the area is gorilla trekking, with $213.43 million (70 per cent) of the revenue generated in 2014 coming from the payment for gorilla permits. To visit the mountain gorillas, a visitor will have to pay $750 to obtain a permit.

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Conservation of Mountain Gorillas Aids Tourism

With great efforts made in conservation over the past 10 years for this breed of animals, two-thirds of the world’s mountain gorillas are now found in Rwanda, with this region being responsible for helping to breed 179 infants. As documented by the BBC, all of the births of these infants are celebrated in the Kwita Izina ceremonies, where the name of the mountain gorilla is commemorated. This tradition has been derived from the Rwandan baby-naming one that occurs after the birth of each newborn baby.

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With companies such as helping to take tourists to this area to witness these ceremonies, many famous faces have been in attendance, including Microsoft’s Bill Gates. In 2014 alone, over 500 people from around the world took part in these events.

Through the wildlife visitors, conferences and other avenues, the country hopes to have reached a figure of $860 million in revenue in 2016 from tourism. However, there has been criticism from some, as they feel that services and hospitality in different regions of the country need improving first.

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