Catching much of the tourism industry by surprise, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has doubled the cost of gorilla trekking permits from US$750 to US$1,500 for all visitors effective immediately. The price increase will not affect travelers who had already booked their trips and purchased gorilla permits at the time of this announcement on May 6.
In announcing the new rate, the RDB explained that the massive price increase will strengthen conservation efforts and contribute more to the development of human populations living around Volcanoes National Park.
In order to expedite community development, the tourism revenue sharing rate for communities adjacent to the national park will increase from 5% to 10%. According to the RDB, more than 400 community projects have been completed via tourism revenue sharing over the past 12 years including hospitals, schools, business development centers, and water supply systems to facilitate access to clean water.
The rate hike will also facilitate and/or improve tourism infrastructures like high-end lodges, visitor centers, conservation education and children’s learning space and facilities.
“We have raised the price of permits in order to ensure sustainability of conservation initiatives and enhance visitors’ experience,” said Ms. Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Development Board. “We also want to make sure that the communities living near the park area receive a bigger share of tourism revenues to fund development projects and empower them economically.”
The price increase comes as a surprise to the Adventure Consults team and the rest of the tourism fraternity but this being a directive from the governing body, we as private