Rwanda has increased the cost of a gorilla viewing permit from US $750 per person per permit to US $1,500 per person per permit with immediate effect.
As travelers are limited to 1 hour with the gorillas most of our clients undertake 2 treks… so the total cost would not go from US $1,500 per person to US $3,000 per person. Our guess is we will now see fewer people book 2 treks and instead just do 1…
Travelers who have already purchased permits will not need to pay any increase.
As much as we don’t like surprise increases at least Rwanda had the foresite to not increase the rate on permits already purchased. Last year when Tanzania introduced a new 15% VAT tax on tourism it applied to all bookings – even ones that were confirmed and paid!
And we can appreciate the monies going to surrounding communities and to help save the gorillas.
There is a 30% gorilla permit discount for travelers visiting all 3 national parks in Rwanda (Akagera, Nyungwe, and Volcanoes) for a minimum of 3 nights each. Nyungwe National Park – Africa’s oldest montane forest – is home to 13 species of primate, including an estimated 500 chimpanzees.
The Rwanda Development Board notes:
Kigali, 8 May 2017 – The Rwanda Development Board today announced an increase in the price of Gorilla Permits from US $750 to US $1,500 for all visitors effective immediately. A new exclusive package for tourists who wish to book an entire family of gorillas was also introduced at US $15,000, and will receive exclusive personalized tour guide services.
The price increase will not affect tourists who had already purchased their tickets at the time of this announcement.
Tourists who visit other national parks (Nyungwe and Akagera) for a minimum of three days, in addition to gorilla trekking will receive a discount of 30%. Similarly, conference tourists, who stay pre or post conference dates to see gorillas will be eligible for a 15% discount.
In line with Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy, the price increase aims to strengthen conservation efforts and contribute more to the development of communities living around the Volcanoes National Park.
Along with the new tariff, the tourism revenue sharing rate for communities adjacent to the park, will also increase from 5% to 10%, which will quadruple the absolute revenues received by communities. Over the last 12 years, more than 400 community projects have been completed including hospitals, schools, business development centers and water supply systems to facilitate access to clean water. These projects directly benefit the people living around the parks.
Ms. Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Development Board said:
“Gorilla trekking is a highly unique experience. We have raised the price of permits in order to ensure sustainability of conservation initiatives and enhance visitors’ experience. 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.”
New, high-end lodges are opening in Musanze and plans are underway to improve visitors’ experience at Kinigi, including renovation of the information center to equip it with modern offices and tourism services such as conservation education, children’s learning space as well as digital facilities.
Mountain gorillas are an endangered species with only around 880 remaining in the world. Of those in in the Virunga Massif, Rwanda accounts for 62% of the gorilla population. Stringent conservation measures have significantly contributed to a rise in gorilla numbers. There are currently 20 families habituated for tourism and research in Rwanda, up from just 9 families in 2010.