(eTN) – The Rwanda Development Board’s (RDB) Head of Tourism and Conservation, Rica Rwigamba, took over as Chairperson of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC) yesterday. The GVTC brings together Rwanda, Uganda, and the Congo DR for the purpose of conservation and management of the mountain gorilla populations and their habitat.
Rica started her two-year term as Chairperson at the end of the regular meeting of the tripartite parties in Kampala, Uganda, yesterday, following the end of the term of her colleague, Dr. Wilungula of the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature (ICCN) with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, and Dr. Andrew Seguya hosting the meeting, which rotates between the member countries.
Gorilla tracking is one of the most high-profile tourism activities in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Eastern Congo. It attracts thousands of visitors to the region and makes up the largest share of tourism-related income for the RDB – Tourism & Conservation, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, and ICCN. Numbers in the 3 countries are estimated to stand at nearly 900 of the endangered animals, up significantly over the past decade as a result of cooperation between the wildlife management bodies, campaigns among area residents to promote conservation vis-a-vis benefit sharing, and improved monitoring and security measures.
The cost of a gorilla tracking permit in Rwanda stands at US$750 per person, while in Uganda the cost is ordinarily US$500, although a special low-season promotion for the period up to May 31 is presently ongoing with tracking permits going for US$ 350 per person.
Congratulations to Rica and all the best in dealing with the challenges ahead.