How Virtual Reality technology will Improve Gorilla Tourism in Rwanda
Rwanda, dubbed the land of a thousand Hills is one of the best destinations in the World that you can visit to fulfill the dreams of encountering the Giant Apes in the Wild. There are more than 300 mountain gorillas that call Rwanda’s Volcanoes National park home, with over 10 families habituated for tracking by tourists.
Besides these primates that the country is popular for, she is endowed with other phenomenal attractions that include several Lakes, more than 13 species of primates, over 700 species of birds including those endemic to the Albertine Rift Mountains 5 of the 8 volcanoes in the Virunga Massif and a rich cultural diversity that will amaze you. Still on gorilla safaris, this country attracts more tourists than other activities hence making it the main generator of revenue in the country. As a matter of fact, Rwanda has invested a lot in promoting the country’s gorilla tourism through technology compared to the other destinations (Uganda and DRC) where these critically endangered great Apes are found.
It is for this reason that AOS Ltd, A Rwanda-based Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Service provider partnered with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to introduce a new VR Technology that was launched in May 2017 in the bid of promoting the country’s gorilla tourism. According to AOS’s Chief of Center of Excellence-Mr. James Bang, this smart Tourism initiative is targeted at rising community and tourists’ interest and attention to Tourism attractions found in Rwanda.
Because tourists deserve to be updated on events and information regarding tourism, the VR Technology is consequently aimed at delivering adequate and rich information on Rwanda’s tourism. Therefore by the use of the Virtual Reality Technology, it becomes more intriguing and thrilling to offer information through the use of smart tourism. Presently, this exceptional technology has be experimented within three wonderful tourism segments that include gorilla trekking, cultural tourism and the Kigali City tour, but is expected to increase and expand to the other tourism areas in Rwanda.
This modern technology will also enhance the country’s tourism sector which has in the past years experienced a tremendous growth and endless expansion but has not yet reached its full potential. Surprisingly, the VR Technology is just a slice of the larger picture of creating a smart Tourism portal within the Land of a thousand Hills which will involve collecting adequate data information from the private and public sector service providers to produce a tourism platform. According to James Bang, this initiative needs enough time and financial investment in services like Virtual Reality hubs and Centers to form a one stop center with all the required information on tourist attractions.
However for all this to come to full potential, more influence and partnership is required between the local tourism enterprises and tourists. With the information and services of these two parties, a tourism platform can be built to make tourism easy and none-traditional. With the availability of enough funds, the VR Technology booths are able to be placed in major places of Rwanda such as within Kigali City, at Kigali International Airport, the National Parks and stadiums. However, the small size booth costs up to $300,000, which is why the Government efforts are very important in realizing these goals. For the time being, the AOS has suggested that the content of the Virtual Reality Technology be distributed through the website of the Rwanda Development Board for download and through social media platform such as Facebook videos, YouTube videos and Instagram among others, to make it easily accessible by tourists and others who have the VR devices.
In conclusion, due to the plan of making Rwanda one of the leading Safari destinations in Africa, marketing of the tourist attractions is one of the ways of achieving that. Currently modern marketing technologies are being adopted and one of them is the use of the VR technology to be able to disseminate required information to the tourists.