Rwanda tour operators are concerned about the news of hiking the price of gorilla permits. In the final meeting with RTTA, RDB, CEO, COO, and CTO, they come up with a conclusion of permit increase will stay at $1500 effective 6th May 2017.
WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE BOOKING MADE BEFORE MAY 6TH 2017
The tour operators have requested that they honour all gorilla permit bookings that were confirmed to our clients before May 6th at the rate of $750. They have accepted to honour this if we have proof of booking confirmation either by email or payment proof which you will need to attach to booking. We will need to work on this and have this information sent to them by Friday 12th May 2017. Each tour operator will need to drop their confirmed lists at the RTTA offices,
QN: Does the revised fees apply to Rwandans? EAC citizens and EAC residents?
ANS: Yes. The US$1,500 is applicable to ALL visitors. There are however, some new packages that have been introduced. These include:
– US$ 15,000 for personalized & exclusive mountain gorilla visits for a requested targeted Gorilla family,
– US$ 30,000 for a minimum of 3 visitors for 3 consecutive days (Behind the scenes)
There are also special discounted rates:
– 30% discount (US$ 1,050) for combined trips within National Parks in Rwanda (Gorilla Trekking, Akagera and/or Nyungwe National Park) for at least 3 days during the months of November-May,
– 15% discount (US$ 1,275) on conference delegates who stay pre & post MICE events to see gorillas.
QN: The new tariff excludes Rwandans from visiting the gorillas as they don’t enjoy subsidized rates like before and as showcased in the Tembera U Rwanda campaign. What plans do you have for the domestic and regional markets?
ANS: The analytics for our domestic numbers for the prized experience indicate low interest. Only 3% local visitors were received in the park; however, we cannot take this interest for granted. Through our domestic and regional campaigns, there will be promotional offers for local and regional visitors especially during the low the season.
QN: Doesn’t this initiative contradict with the integration initiatives?
ANS: On the contrary, the Gorilla experience in Rwanda is truly unique and cannot be compared to anywhere else. Therefore this is rather complementary rather than contradictory.
QN: Why was there no grace period before the announcement of the reviewed tariffs?
ANS: There were several individual and group consultations with several private sector. However, this decision was taken based on the contribution to conservation and improved livelihood on the communities living around the Parks. Revenue Sharing has upped to 10% from 5% in order to have a bigger and more positive impact on the local communities.
QN: Won’t all visits be directed to neighboring countries since the rates are much more affordable?
ANS: The most important aspect is to offer a unique and exclusive experience for our visitors considering that there is sustainable tourism. It is also important for our communities’ wellbeing to be positively impacted as a direct result of the Gorilla Trekking experience. The Eco- Tourist/Sustainable-Tourist visitor will therefore have a more fulfilling experience because they will be able to see the benefits.
QN: What will happen with all the bookings that have been made but haven’t been paid?
ANS: This will be handled on a case by case basis based on the evidence presented by the Tour Operator or Individual(s) who made the booking or made a down payment.
QN: Why did you increase the price, what has improved in the experience?
ANS: The objective for the increase is to up revenue sharing from 5% to 10% so that the communities evidently benefit from the premium experience. In addition, customized and specialized packages have been introduced to give the tourist the ultimate exclusive experience with these endangered species.
The time currently spent at the information centre will be reduced to allow immediate briefings and trekking.
There is an infrastructure development plan in the long term to further improve the visitor experience. This will include a road network and an interactive visitor centre.