Gorilla Trekking Permit Fee Hike Controversy
Last month the Rwanda Development Board increased the price of gorilla trekking permits. However this increment will not affect any gorilla tour booking made before or those made between the announcement and Jun1 1st 2012.
Stakeholders in the Rwanda tourism industry are not happy with the increase in the price of gorilla permits saying this will adversely affect their businesses as many clients will no longer want to come to Rwanda to do gorilla trekking safaris.
However, the Rwanda Development Board – RDB has now said that in order to conserve the mountain gorillas due to the increased gorilla tourism the increase in gorilla trekking fees will not be reserved. The increment comes at a time when the Country is enjoying increased numbers of clients coming to do gorilla safaris in Rwanda. The number of mountain gorillas in Rwanda has also increased tremendously in the last couple of years despite the fact that they were initially facing extinction.
The recovery of the number of mountain gorillas in the Wild from the brink of extinction means that the conservation efforts of the many International conservation agencies coupled with the efforts of the three governments of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo is paying off.
Despite the uproar from the different tour operators in Rwanda both local and international, the Rwanda Development Board said it is not going to go back on the increase in the price of mountain gorilla safari fees. The local tour operators say that the increase should have been in consideration of the other two neighboring countries of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo who have not increased the price of their mountain gorilla tour prices.
Mr. Edwin Sabuhoro and Mr. Kayihura Manzi Chairmen of the Tourism Chamber which is the body representing Rwanda tour operators and the Rwanda Tours and Travel Association – RTTA have however, expressed their fears about the new increase in the gorilla tour booking fees.
In a joint statement they said, “We agree that the gorilla permit increase was inevitable, however the immediate and draconian enforcement of this decision will have lasting repercussions on our industry and the image of the country”.
According to them, the new increase on the price levied on mountain gorilla safari is not welcome at this point as the amount of money being spent by tourists has significantly dwindled due to the global economic meltdown. They further said that the hike in the prices was done without proper consultation of the different stakeholders in the Rwanda tourism industry.
|Gorilla Permits||Foreigners||Resident Foreigners||Locals|