LONDON, UK – USAID’s Nyungwe Nziza (“Beautiful Nyungwe”) project was named winner of the British Guild of Travel Writers’ (BGTW) Best Overseas and Best Global Project Awards. At the Guild’s prestigious annual awards dinner in the London’s Savoy Hotel last night, Guild Chair Roger Bray said, “Nyungwe Nziza is a model tourism project for developing countries.” USAID’s involvement in Nyungwe dates back over 20 years, and since the forest’s designation as a national park in 2007 USAID has had active projects in conservation and ecotourism, engaging collaboratively with the government of Rwanda to support their efforts to independently and responsibly manage the park and its resources.
At the BGTW awards ceremony, the Nyungwe Nziza project was recognized for its contributions to ecotourism, biodiversity, and local communities. Former BGTW Chair, Melissa Shale, said: “Guild members selected the Nyungwe Nziza Project after considering many projects from around the world. We voted for the Nyungwe Nziza Project because it is really the sort of project that should be replicated around the world.”
USAID’s Nyungwe Nziza project is working with the Rwanda Development Board to transform Nyungwe National Park into a viable ecotourism destination. The ultimate goal is a thriving economy in and around the park with engaged communities and a private sector with a business model based on protecting and leveraging the unique environment in which they live and work. Currently, the project’s market-driven product development and marketing strategies are working to:
-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 the park;
-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.
As stated by Peter Malnak, Mission Director of USAID/Rwanda: “Nyungwe National Park is one of the most spectacular natural landscapes in the world. USAID is proud to have been working alongside our Rwandan partners in this montane rainforest since the 1980s. Nyungwe is now transforming into an ecotourism destination that attracts visitors from all around the world. Most importantly, the Rwandan government, the private sector, and local communities understand the value in Nyungwe, and are working together to protect the forest not only for its remarkable beauty, but also for the economic benefits and ecological services it provides.”
Nyungwe Nziza is a US Agency for International Development project. It is implemented by Development Alternatives, Inc., in collaboration with SW Associates, a Washington, DC-based international consulting firm, and the US National Park Service.
The Rwanda Development Board is a member of the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP), a fast-growing grassroots travel and tourism coalition of global destinations committed to quality service and green growth.