Rwanda’s gorilla naming event gets UN tourism award

Kigali, Jan 25: Rwanda’s annual event, commonly known as ‘Kiwita Izina’ dedicated to naming new baby mountain gorillas, has been awarded the third prize by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Xinhua reported Friday.

The honour was given for Rwanda’s role in highlighting and showcasing innovation and application of knowledge in tourism.

The awarding ceremony took place in Madrid, Spain this week and Rwanda was recognised for its efforts made in innovative, community focused and sustainable tourism through protecting endangered species living in Virunga national park located in the north around 130 km from Kigali, official sources said.

The 160,000-hectare park, which was created in 1925, is located alongside the border with Uganda and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Since Kwita Izina was launched in 2005, at least 173 baby gorillas have been named, according to a statement issued by the tourism department of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

The UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism are given for initiatives that contribute to advanced tourism through knowledge and innovation in line with principles of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the UN Millennium Development Goals.