News Trailblazer in community-based tourism in Rwanda

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Greg Bakunzi is a renowned pioneer and trailblazer in community-based tourism in East Africa. He grew up under extremely challenging conditions in a Ugandan refugee camp and had only little access to formal education. In 1998, once peace was slowly returning to the region after the 1994 genocide, he decided to follow his heart and to move to his native Rwanda. Passionate about tourism, culture, and development, he became a local guide for visitors who were interested in more than the famous mountain gorillas. 

Realizing the vast potential of community-based tourism to contribute to poverty reduction, he founded the Ruhengeri Community Ecotourism Association as well as tour operator Amahoro Tours. His projects attracted rapidly increasing numbers of visitors and, as a result, he was able to create jobs for local people and to bring economic benefits to the surrounding communities. While his initial focus was on northern Rwanda and the communities surrounding Volcanoes National Park, he later launched further responsible ecotourism initiatives also in other parts of the country, including Nyungwe National Park.

This work culminated in the creation of Red Rocks Rwanda ( and the Red Rocks Initiative for Sustainable Development ( Today, Greg enjoys national and international acclaim for his

pioneering work. In 2011, he received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for his work in promoting responsible ecotourism and sustainable community development in Rwanda. In 2015, his name was added to the A-Team for Wildlife "Wall of Fame" in recognition of his work to save endangered species of animals. A year later, he became a panelist on the topic "Africa - The future is now" at the Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa, organized by the UN World Tourism Organization, FITUR, and Casa Africa. More recently, Greg was appointed to serve on the African Tourism Board's steering committee and, in 2022, his village Nkotsi received the "Best tourism village"

award by the UN World Tourism Organization for preserving culture and traditions, celebrating diversity, providing opportunities to the locals, and safeguarding diversity. In 2023 Red Rocks was selected by the Times World's Greatest Places , among the 50 destinations  around the world that are offering visitors an extraordinary experience that's unlike any other .

 Greg's legacy lives on. His initiatives continue to provide economic benefits to local communities while preserving the natural beauty and biodiversity of Rwanda. His community development projects continue to empower numerous local people and promote environmental stewardship.

And his vision of sustainable community-based tourism has become a role model for others who follow in his path of promoting sustainable development around the world.

AddressNR 17 Nyakinama Road
Keywords Local Community, ecotourism , Sustainable Development, Land Restoration
Target group(s) NGOs, Partnerships, Networks