The Government has announced that effective Wednesday, June 17, Rwanda eased tourism restrictions, allowing both domestic and foreign tourists to visit some of the country’s tourism offerings.
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said Wednesday that tourism activities, as well as the resumption of international travel for charter flights, will reopen effectively.
“Together with the private sector, RDB is offering attractive all-inclusive tourism packages for Rwandans and foreign residents,” the institution said in a statement.
Tourism activities had been suspended for nearly three months now due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but countries are now optimistic that activities could resume, while observing existing safety measures.
Tourists who are now allowed to visit everything from the Volcanoes National Park, home to mountain gorillas, to Akagera National Park and other offerings, which they will do under minimum health and safety guidelines.
Belise Kariza, the Chief Tourism Officer at RDB says Rwanda’s tourism industry is adapting to create a safe environment for travelers and operators, in order to thrive in these unprecedented times.
“We encourage all travel enthusiasts and nature explorers to take advantage of this unique opportunity to venture out and experience the beauty and adventure that our country has to offer,” she said in a statement.
The tourism sector which has taken a hit from the Covid-19 pandemic is one of the country’s top foreign exchange-earners.
The sector is said to have lost a staggering Rwf34.9 billion in March only, according to the Rwanda Tourism Chamber which appealed to the Government to save the fortunes of the industry.
RDB has said that gorilla permits will now be available for as little as $200 for Rwandans and nationals of East African Community (EAC) residing in Rwanda, and $500 for foreigners who are resident in Rwanda. International tourists will continue to pay $1,500. Visitors on chartered flights can now travel to Rwanda and visit the popular primates.
Special packages are available for groups, families and corporates on other products in Volcanoes and Nyungwe National Parks, they said, without revealing the nature of packages.
This is part of the promotional offer to incentivise tourism, which ends December this year.
To maintain safety measures, domestic tourists visiting Nyungwe and Volcanoes national parks are required to test negative for Covid-19 within 48 hours prior to visiting these attractions.
A private test centre has been set up at Petit Stade, Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali, by appointment only.
This is in addition to other test centres outside Kigali which officials at RDB say will be communicated as demand grows.
All visitors travelling by charter flights are expected to test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours prior to arrival.
Tourists will take a second Covid-19 test prior to visiting any tourist attraction.
With revenue streams in the sector currently affected and most facilities operational and having had to lay off workers, the government is working with the local sector to drive the adoption of domestic tourism.
This is done through reviewing rates of tourism and hospitality offerings to make them more affordable for Rwandans as well as setting discounts.Follow https://twitter.com/Julio_Bizimungu