The bird watching experience in Rwanda is set to improve after 35 local birding guides completed a 19-day training exercise today.
Led by British expert birder Malcolm Wilson, the guides were trained on bird watching techniques, photography, ringing, breeding biology, tourism and presentation.
The training was organized by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), in collaboration with the Rwanda Chamber of Tourism, the Rwanda Safari Guide Association as well as the Promotion of Economy and Employment Programme (Eco-Emploi) of the German Development Corporation (GIZ).
The training was conducted in the country’s prime bird watching destinations in Bugesera District, Akagera National Park and Nyungwe National Park.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the exercise, RDB Head of Tourism and Conservation Ariella Kageruka said that Rwanda aims to increase its tourism revenues to over US$ 800 million by 2024 and to attain this we need to have skilled professionals giving tourists the best experiences.
“Rwanda is a hot spot for over 700 bird species and their habitats. Tourists who come for avitourism in Rwanda usually spend more days and money. With this training, we want to improve the quality of bird watching experiences in Rwanda and earn more from avitourism,” she said.
Ellen Kallinowsky, the Principal Technical Advisor of the Promotion of Economy and Employment programme at GIZ said, “We strongly believe that bird watching in Rwanda can reach a similar economic potential as the gorillas already have today. Birding is not restricted to a specific number of visitors or to one area in the country.
Kallinowsky added that, “On the contrary, the wide range of birding habitats, varying from grass- and wetlands to forests and savannahs allows for a spectacular diversity of species, making the country an Eldorado for birders. Tour operators and the hospitality sector as well as communities all over Rwanda can benefit from that.”