Kigali, January 23rd, 2014 – Kwita Izina, a Rwanda Development Board’s project was second runner up for the UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance.

The award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance went to Responsible Tourism Project at Kumarakom, Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala (India) and the first runner up was declared Office of the Marshal of the Pomorskie Voivodeship (Poland) in the event of the International Tourism Trade Fair – FITUR that took place yesterday, 22nd of January 2014 in Madrid, Spain. Kwita Izina was the only African project awarded for the Ulysse UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation.

Speaking of the Kwita Izina project ranking, Mrs. Rica Rwigamba, Head of Tourism and Conservation Departmnt in RDB said “Given that the Innovation in Public Policy and Governance category received more application from all corners of the world, it was quite competitive, and due to that fact we are proud to be among the top three projects”.

Mrs Rwigamba will also be among the Knowledge Network Symposium panelists, sharing Kwita Izina impact on the communities at the egde of Volcanoes National Park.

In 2005, Rwanda’s tourist board introduced an annual public gorilla naming ceremony now known as Kwita Izina which comes from Rwandan baby naming tradition that entire community is involved in naming a newly born. The event is in line with the effort to create and raise awareness for the conservation of mountain gorillas, as a tool to distinctively position and promote Rwanda as a must-see tourism destination and empower communities surrounding Volcanoes National Park, mountains gorillas’ habitat.

Every year since 2003, the UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism have honoured tourism initiatives that contribute to advance tourism through knowledge and innovation, in line with the principles of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

Since its inception in 2005, Kwita Izina has evolved from a one day celebration to a week celebration. Along with the main gorilla-naming ceremony, a number of exciting events take place during the week preceding the naming ceremony among which emphasis in conservation and community welfare based. From 2005, an amount of 586,838,751 Rwf (978,065 US$) from RDB’s Tourism Revenue Sharing Scheme was allocated to community development.


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