Rwanda Tourism Board is excited over the increase of Rwanda gorilla tourism revenue by up to 25%, a great recovery from the covid19 pandemic. Tourism revenue has increased from US$131 million in 2020 to US$164 million in 2021. This good news of the gorilla revenue increase was announced on September 24th during the celebrations of international Gorilla Day. The US$164 was earned from the sale of mountain gorilla permits to 512,000 international visitors who visited Volcanoes National park in 2021 for Rwanda gorilla safaris.
The bamboo forest park shelters over 380 mountain gorillas, which live in 10 gorilla families. Altogether, Rwanda Development Board issues out 80-gorilla permits per day. Volcanoes National Park is part of the greater Virunga Conservation Area shared between Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The other two gorilla parks in the Virunga Massif are Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda and Virunga National Park in DR Congo.
Is it a comeback?
YES, the rising of Rwanda’s tourism revenue is a comeback from the huge drop during the 2 years of covid. In 2020 and partly 2021, Volcanoes National Park and other destinations in Rwanda were closed for tourism. Visits to see gorillas were put on hold, which led to the loss of revenue. In 2020, RDB collected revenue of USD$21 which went down to USD$12 in 2021. This was a huge drop from the USD 197 million revenue that was earned in 2019. By August 2022, US$82 million had been so far collected in mountain gorilla revenues, which is a great move!
How is Rwanda’s Tourism Revenue distributed?
Revenue collected from the sale of mountain gorilla permits in Rwanda is majorly used for conservation, paying park rangers, wardens, and tourism police, and supporting conservation programs. Also, 10% of the total revenue is given to local communities living near the park. Local leaders have started several cooperatives that promote the conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas and other wildlife in Rwanda.
According to Anthanasie Mukabizimungu, the chairperson of the Imbareheza cooperative, locals are committed to supporting the conservation of gorillas in Volcanoes National park. In his report, he said “Our conservation work is intended to protect the gorillas from human activities that may harm them. We have a water project that enables effective rainwater catchment while minimizing threats to gorillas from people entering the Volcanoes national park for resource collection,”
Rwanda Gorilla permits prices
Gorilla permits in Rwanda cost $1500 each! This hike was passed in 2017 when Rwanda Development Board doubled the permit cost from $750 to $1500. The major aim for gorilla permit hiking was to promote gorilla conservation and improvement of local people’s standards of living through revenue-sharing programs. This cost is standard for all travelers’ foreign residents, non-residents, and East African citizens.
However, since the time of covid19 till the end of December 2022, there have been discounted permits for foreign African residents at $500 and $200 for East African citizens. Following the double hike of gorilla permits, Rwanda transformed into a luxury gorilla destination offering first-class gorilla safaris.
Gorilla Families in Volcanoes National park
As said already, Volcanoes National Park shelters over 380 mountain gorillas. The 10 habituated gorilla families in VNP include Susa A, Karisimbi, Hirwa, Agashya, Umubano, Ugenda, Amahoro, Titus, Pablo, and Sabyinyo gorilla families. Each family is unique in its own kind and offers an exceptional experience.
Guide for trekking gorillas in Rwanda
Endeavor to book your Rwanda gorilla permit in time. Also, disclose your hiking abilities or any physical challenges to the park wardens so as to be given a suitable gorilla family to trek. Some gorilla families are hard to trek, others moderate while others are easy to trek depending on the locations.
Gorilla trekking add-ons in Rwanda
In addition to the gorillas, travelers to Rwanda have a variety of things to see and do. These include golden monkey trekking, bird watching, cultural tours, chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest, game viewing in Akagera National park, Mt Karisimbi & Bisoke hiking plus a city tour in Kigali capital of Rwanda. Combining mountain gorillas with other wildlife experiences offers you the best of Rwanda safaris.
In conclusion, the rise of gorilla tourism revenue in Rwanda is a great achievement that calls for celebrations. Great thanks to the extensive marketing by RDB, joint efforts of local people, the government and other stake holders working together to conserve and promote gorilla tourism in Volcanoes National park.