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Marriott International Participates in Rwanda’s Gorilla Naming Ceremony, Kwita Izina


Marriott International Names Baby Gorilla “Isimbi” Which Means “Shining”

Dubai, UAE – This year, in honour of the company’s first upcoming property in East Africa, the Kigali Marriott Hotel, Marriott International was invited to participate in Rwanda’s renowned annual gorilla-naming ceremony, Kwita Izina 2013. Paul Dalgleish, Director of Sales and Marketing at Marriott International Middle East and Africa represented the company at the event.

There were twelve baby gorillas that were to be named this year. Marriott International chose the name ‘Isimbi’ for its baby female gorilla who was born on 22nd September 2012. In Kinyrwandan, Isimbi means ‘shining’. Isimbi’s mother is Karisimbi, a 26 year old female who has had 5 babies, and is part of the Amohoro group, adding to the increasing value of this group according to the mountain trackers.

“It was such an honour to be invited to and involved with the ninth annual Kwita Izina ceremony. We wish both Isimbi and the other twelve baby gorillas a long and prosperous life in the spectacular Musanze District,” commented Paul Dalgleish, Director of Sales and Marketing, Marriott International, Middle East and Africa. “We at Marriott International are particularly proud to be associated with Rwanda’s wider conservation efforts and look forward to positively contributing to the growth of eco-tourism across both the local communities and wider country.”

The ceremony was attended by local and international dignitaries and celebrities, and included speeches from Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr. Pierre Damien and Clare Akamanzi, CEO of the Rwandan Development Board, patrons of Kwita Izina. Other participants in the ceremony included Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Hollywood actor Isaiah Washington, Dr. Paul Kahumba, Executive Director of Kenyan Land Conservation Trust and Nigerian film star Ramsey Tokunbo Nouah, among others.

Kwita Izina is inspired by the ancient Rwandan tradition of naming a baby soon after its birth, and takes place every year in June. In the nine years since it was established, 161 mountain gorillas have been named in celebration of nature and the communities who protect these magnificent animals.

Kwita Izina gives the chance to celebrate the efforts of all those who ensure the welfare of Rwandan wildlife and the conservation of their habitat. Rwanda is committed to the protection of the mountain gorillas and their homelands by working with local communities and visitors.

This year’s theme for the festival was ‘Celebrating Nature, Empowering Communities’, as it showcased Rwanda’s natural wonders such as the spectacular Twin Lakes, Ruhondo and Burera, as well as the Musanze Caves, and the enchanting Buhanga Eco Park. The ceremony not only celebrates Rwanda’s mountain gorillas, but also the community-led conservation efforts taking place across the country. Rwanda’s conservation efforts have resulted in a 26 per cent growth in the population of these rare creatures since 2003, and the country’s revenue sharing scheme provides 5 per cent of all tourism income to promote sustainable development. Since 2005, the scheme has returned US$ 2.5 million to local communities.

Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) is a leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, with more than 3,800 properties in 74 countries and territories and reported revenues of nearly $12 billion in fiscal year 2012. The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 18 brands.

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