Rwanda generated up to $16.8 million from more than 67,696 visits to the national parks in 2014. The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) reports that revenues from parks increased by 19% from $14.1 million recorded in 2013. Visits to the Volcanoes National Park increased by 11% while Akagera National Park increased by 4%, Nyungwe National Park, home to the only canopy walkway in East Africa, recorded an increase of 30% of visitors, but Volcanoes National Park accounts for 93% of all revenues generated from the parks. Foreigners visiting gorillas pay $750. While a foreign resident pays $350, Locals pay Rwf30, 000 ($42).
Earlier this year, it was reported that the United States has become the largest contributor to Rwanda’s tourism revenues, accounting for 20% of the total revenue, according to the Rwanda Development Board. The immigration office says 1,220,000 visitors were received in 2014, compared to 1,122,000 visitors hosted in 2013, corresponding to a 9% increase (98,000 visitors).
In 2014, of the total number of visitors, 24,488 were Americans, followed by India with 13,008 visitors, then United Kingdom with 12,320, Belgium with 8,733, and 8,228 Germans on the fifth spot.
Apart from being the safest spot for vacation in Africa, wildlife sight-seeing, especially gorilla and bird watching, and conferences draw the biggest portion of the revenues. The country hosted 19,085 conference visitors, compared to 15,441 in 2013, earning $29 million.
Tourists enjoy the variety of landscapes, the other wildlife, and especially the birds. Being home to two thirds of the world’s mountain gorillas, aggressive conservation efforts in the last 10 years have helped breed 179 mountain gorilla infants, usually cerebrated and given names during the Kwita Izina ceremonies, inspired by the Rwandan baby naming tradition following the birth of a new baby.
The country targets generating $860 million from tourism by 2016.