The Rwanda Development Board yesterday 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.
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.