Beginning December, tour operators will be required to register for a licence from Rwanda Development Board (RDB) before they continue to pry their trade, the institution’s acting head of tourism, Faustin Karasira, told The New Times yesterday.
The categories that are concerned with these changes include tour operators and tour guides, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, accommodation establishments, tourism information providers and cultural tourism service providers.
In an interview on the sidelines of a workshop organised by Rwanda Tours and Travel Association (RTTA) to provide the operators with more details about the law in Nyarutarama, yesterday, Karasira explained that though the law was gazetted in July 2014, but that a provisional two years was added before it could come into force.
He said the new law is not permanent, but can be adjusted as the times dictate.
“That’s why for some of the articles, the law relies on ministerial orders which are legal instruments that can be adjusted to the realities of the industry,” Karasira said.
For one to be registered, the law requires them to have registered with RDB and acquired a trade licence and also be a member of RTTA.
The Chairperson of RTTA, Joseph Birori, said tour operators had welcomed the new legislation, saying operating as a business but with no clear regulation had been an impediment.
“We have been operating within the provided guideline but it was not regulated because the tourism law was not in place. We were consulted by RDB when they were working on the draft law and we are happy that it’s now in place because now we can work in an organised manner,” Birori said.
To register with RTTA, he said, a client will be required to write an application to the association and possess a trade licence.
We visit you and see if you have an office, qualified staff, at least one tourism vehicle and a website, he said. The applicant is also expected to pay $1,000 (about Rwf800,000) per year.