Residents of Rutsiro district are positive about the booming of tourism-related activities and community tourism around Lake Kivu.
According to residents, they engage in the formal work including construction of roads so that the travelers cannot be limited in their travels across the area, but others entertain the tourists.
“We construct roads and put on the pavements and make sure that tourists are welcome in the area,” said a resident who didn’t disclose his name.
Mansuet Umugwaneza has been operating as a tour guide in the Rutsiro district for over 10 years guiding the tourists particularly; he believes that the area is becoming a trading and a tourism hub due to the tourism activities that financially impacts the citizens in the area.
“When we started working in the area in 2011, you could not find any place you can buy drinking water, but after now, there is water in the area to the booming mobility of people,” he said.
As a way to tap the opportunities, the youth have gathered themselves into cooperatives so as to save their monthly income.
Olivier Nsanzimana, a tourist guide in the Cooperative Indangamuco says that before Covid-19 he could earn Rwf50, 000 per month which he uses to cater for his daily need and pay rentals.
“Through entertaining the tourists, I can manage to earn daily income with which I get foods and drink and pay my rent. Whatever we get we put it in the savings of the cooperatives so that those who didn’t manage to earn throughout the month get their income,” he says.
“From entertaining the tourists, I managed to buy a sheep which also gave birth and now I have three sheep. I have changed now.” he says.
District authorities say that they have embarked on tourism based on the community so as to see available opportunities benefit the communities around.
Etienne Havugimana, the Director of Planning, Rutsiro District, says that the district is training the residents on how they can tap the community based tourism, the projects that are put in place in the villages around Lake Kivu as well as achieving relative impact of social amenities in the area.
“We train the youth on tour guiding and how they welcome tourists,” However, he says there are challenges of some roads that have no signposts and other challenges of old bridges.
“We want to find solutions immediately so that tourism can boom in the district because it contribution a lot to our residents’ income.” he added.
District statistics indicate that before Covid-19 struck, a number of 300 to 400 tourists would pass into the district per day.