The success of Gorilla Tourism in East Africa has been attributed to a number of factors. In Uganda and Rwanda, gorillas are stable while in the Democratic republic of Congo, they are relatively unstable. With quite a broad client base the demand has been higher than the availability of permits and the good accessibility of the gorillas is an advantage. Rwanda being a small country, it takes 2:30 hours from Kigali the capital city to rich volcanoes national park where gorilla trekking expeditions take place. On the other hand, in Uganda it will take over 6hours to reach Bwindi or Mgahinga gorilla national parks from Kampala the capital city. There are viable tourists assets which are necessary but not very sufficient, requiring more infrastructure and to be set up in Rwanda.
The Virunga mountain gorillas represents an Isolated Island of Island population in an upland area which is surrounded by sea of humanity at some of humanity at some of the highest human densities found on the African continent. Employment opportunities have been offered to the people of Rwanda. The local community have been have been employed as guides, trackers and ant poachers while some privately tour operators have offered community based tourism activities including stays with local family, village walks, banana beer production or even volunteering opportunities in the local communities. As compared to other countries, Rwanda has shown a strong commitment to promote the tourism sector and have developed a clear tourism strategy and a marketed destination. A private sector was involved in the policy sector and dialogue and generally have improved the country’s business environment.
Mountain Gorillas are severely threatened by anthropocentric disturbances such as need for agricultural expansion and illegal extraction of resources. Until recent, mountain Gorillas are not hunted down for meat as it was before. Many Mountain Gorillas were killed and other wounded with other groups disintegrating as a result. This resulted in high demand to trap infants which were taken on the black market in the Virunga range. Illegal hunting was mainly motivated by meeting subsistence needs for the poorest people around the Virunga National Park and this pressure presently represents the greatest threat to the survival of the mountain gorilla and the integrity of their habitat.
A prerequisite is the relative ease of habituating Mountain Gorillas facilitated by the temperate climate. A sustainable Tourism development plan was designed by the republic of Rwanda with the support of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. The Virunga mountain gorilla represent an isolated island population in an upland area surrounded by a sea humanity at some of the highest human densities found on the African continent.
There has been a focus of contemporary conservation strategies where the local communities have persistently addresses the local welfare needs to mitigate some of the poverty related conservation threats. This has combined the conservation with the local development through the integrated conservation and development projects. The communities in Rwanda are involved in gorilla tourism in the following ways including; creation of a department for community conservation which is aimed at working with the local education and social infrastructure projects.
The republic of Rwanda has initiated revenue sharing scheme whereby 5% of tourism revenues from the park fees are injected into local community projects around the national parks. This has been made possible to ensure that the local people consider the parks as one of their own and it is not known what proportion is shared with revenue represents the budget of the local councils.