On 6th May 2017, Rwanda took a step in tourism sector by increasing the cost for gorilla permits from US$ 750 to US$ 1,500 each. This move has surprised various parties that include tour operators, other stake holders like Lodge/ Hotel owners, visitors who were planning to trek Gorillas among others. The policy was set and implemented urgently.
Currently, the number of people taking gorilla treks in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. This has reduced as many travelers claim they cannot afford to buy gorilla permits at US$ 1,500. Up to 2019, Uganda Gorilla permits remain at US$ 600 each that is why most tourists have decided to go gorilla trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Rwanda is called the Land of a Thousand Hills because much of the country is covered by rolling, grassy hills with volcanic mountains like Sabyinyo Volcano, Karisimbi Volcano, Karisoke Volcano among others. Such Volcanoes are found in the North Western part of the nation. Rwanda is becoming increasingly noticed for its environmental policies and breathtaking beauty. Positive internal and international support for infrastructure, education, security and eco-tourism has made it an attractive African destination.
For the past years, Rwanda tourism industry has been among the fastest growing sectors but the recent increase of the gorillas. Rwanda Tourism sector was booming in 2012 tourism sector generated US$ 281.8 million and it attracted investments totaling over US$323 million. The sector attracted over 1.07 million visitors representing an increase of 22 per cent compared to same period in 2011. Tourism sector has been the top foreign exchange earner for the country.
Rwanda has managed to sustain all the categories of accommodation ranging from Luxury to Budget. The super luxury accommodation near volcanoes national park include Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Lodge and Mountain Gorilla View Lodge among others.
Rwanda’s people have a rich culture which includes ancient folk music and dances and this usually attracts visitors to the country. The famous cultural village near Volcanoes national Park is Iby’wacu, this is where you find ex-poachers performing to the tourists.
Rwanda has various means of transport which includes air transport that mainly caters for visitors that use Kigali International Airport and road transport connecting to various towns in the country. There is limited water transport on Lake Kivu.
The major entries to Rwanda include Kigali International Airport, Boarder entry points like Katuna (Uganda- Rwanda), Cyanika (Uganda – Rwanda boarder), Kanyaru (Burundi – Rwanda Boarder) among others.
Apart from Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda have two other national parks that offer, for example, a range of wildlife and biodiversity. Other national Parks in Rwanda include Akagera National Park (Home of a variety of wild animals and birds) and Nyungwe National Park (Home of primates). Furthermore, the country has been particularly successful in attracting large numbers of business and conference travelers, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the neighboring countries of the East African Community (EAC).
For many years, Rwanda has been considering Tourism as a major strategy to fight against poverty, for example by directly involving local communities. The local communities are directly involved in tourism activities to preserve wildlife and their habitats.