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Kigali: The Nyungwe Nziza project was named winner of the British Guild of Travel Writers' top Globe Award, at the Guild's prestigious annual awards dinner that took place at the Savoy Hotel in London.

“We are delighted that the Rwanda Nziza Project was named winner of the prestigious British Guild of Travel Writers' top Globe Award,” said Clare Akamanzi, the acting CEO of the Rwanda Development Board. In Nyungwe, we are able to see a combination of tourism, wildlife, environmental and agriculture development which add beauty as well as create jobs for our people, which is in line with diversification of tourism products. It shows that the potential for interdisciplinary collaboration for sustainable tourism is limitless.”

She further noted that Nyungwe in particular has from 2010 received 5,755 in 2010 and 8,274 in 2011 corresponding to an increase of 44% within a 1 year period due to the introduction of the canopy walk.

One of the nominators Stuart Forster said that: “It’s wonderful that Nyungwe Nziza Project has won the prestigious British Guild of Travel Writers 2012 Globe Award for the best new tourism project in the World. I was there in April and May and saw the positive impact that the project is having on lives and tourism in and around Nyungwe National Park. I highly recommendforeign and domestic tourists to head to Nyungwe and see it for themselves."

A press release from British Guild of Travel Writers Secretariat stated: “Sited in south-west Rwanda's Nyungwe National Park, the Rwanda Development Board project was praised for harmonising tourism, wildlife, environmental and agrarian development in one of Africa's last surviving patches of primeval pre-Ice Age rainforests. One of the world's richest and most diverse eco-systems and home to 25 percent of all of Africa's primates, it was nominated by Guild members Melissa Shales, Rebecca Ford, Stuart Forster and John Bell.”

The statement further detailed that Rwanda’s Nyungwe Nziza project, “also came first in the awards' Wider World category where the two runners up were central Georgia's Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, nominated by Peter Lynch, and San Antonio, Texas's Morgan's Wonderland, nominated by Mary Moore Mason.”

The award was given a day before the World Travel Market, an annual event in which Rwanda is represented by the Rwanda Development Board and tour and travel operators. The theme at the Rwanda stand is that Rwanda is beyond the Gorillas.

“Nyungwe Nziza” (Beautiful Nyungwe) Project was created to strengthen sustainable eco tourism in and around Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda with the support of USAID and DAI. The project is centred on ecotourism and biodiversity

Objectives: Nyungwe Nziza project is helping the Rwanda Development Board to transform NNP into a viable ecotourism destination, capable of generating employment and sustainable and equitable income for local communities and other stakeholders, thus providing economic incentives to reduce threats to the Park and conserve its rich biodiversity of the Park. Our ultimate goal is a thriving economy in NNP with engaged communities and a private sector that realize they can benefit economically by protecting and leveraging the unique environment in which they live and work.

What we are doing: Our team is designing and implementing market-driven product development and marketing strategies which will:
Diversify the local economy, create jobs, and increase family income, resulting in reduced poverty and reduced threats;
Forge scalable and creative public-private partnerships to increase investment in and around the Park, resulting in a sustainable, market-driven ecotourism business plan for NNP;
Improve the ecotourism enabling environment, resulting in sustainable ecotourism development at Nyungwe and beyond; and
Better integrate local communities into existing and new ecotourism value chains.

Key accomplishments: National Concessions Policy
Guide field equipment
Revised product pricing policy
Park signage prototypes developed
Framework for monitoring environmental impact of tourism
Numerous promotional/marketing materials developed plus project website
Five Year Trail Management plan plus trail upgrades
Strengthened bird and chimp products
New water system for the Uwinka Visitors Center plus rehabilitation of Reception and Interpretive buildings
Four community-based ecotourism products developed and 456 cooperative members trained in business management
Marketing strategy for NNP
Numerous articles and blogs in numerous travel publications
Participation at Tourism Trade shows (ITB, WTM and UK Birdfair).