NEW CONCESSION POLICY OPENS DOOR FOR MORE PARK INVESTMENTS
A recently passed policy on the award of concessions for Rwanda’s national parks, in particular for Nyungwe Forest and Akagera, has now opened new opportunities for joint ventures or individual investments in tourism facilities for Rwanda’s private sector.
Ms. Rica Rwigamba, who is head of department for Tourism and Conservation at the Rwanda Development Board, launched the information earlier this week, when she listed opportunities for lodges, hotels, restaurants and other tourism related projects as among those which will in the future be offered, through an open tender system, to widen the scope of tourism activities across the country.
Presently is RDB engaged in assessing their own options vis a vis concessions and are identifying locations where such concessions can be offered, in line with park management plans and under due consideration of environmental concerns, putting biodiversity and protection of fragile ecosystems first.
It is understood from a source in Kigali that the country’s Private Sector Federation and the tourism sector at large have broadly welcomed the move, as long as nature is put first as this is one of the country’s greatest assets.
Concessions will according to details availed run between 5 and 20 years and will be renewable, depending on the terms a concessionaire will have signed with RDB.
With the exception of two properties inside Akagera National Park are presently all other safari lodges and hotels in Rwanda located outside the parks, something some conservationists say is the preferred option, a case in point being the 5star rated Nyungwe Forest Lodge, which is located inside a tea plantation in the buffer zone around Nyungwe, but within a few metres from the edge of the ‘Enchanted Forest’.
Tourism is one of Rwanda’s most important economic sectors and last year again added double digit growth with revenues now standing over 280 million US Dollars, due to rise to over 300 million US Dollars in 2013.