By Abiaz Rwamwiri
So #Rwanda shocks the #tourism fraternity by doubling the #mountaingorilla permit price from $750 to a whopping $1500! This is the best gift Rwanda has ever given to #Uganda whose permit has been stable at $600. I personally know that it is very costly to conserve these wonderful creatures but for anyone to think that one product has to pay for every bill definitely defeats the principle of tourism and its contribution to conservation.
Basing on her relativity smaller sizes that eases connection from major international airport to the gorilla park, Rwanda had capitalized on this to market herself as the easier gorilla destination but a difference of $900 can actually offer a client an extra night and extra gorilla permit in #Uganda!
I could be wrong but, with less tourism diversity, this could be self-defeating as the other two countries, Uganda and Congo offer much more than gorillas, a fact any marketer would be concerned with!
The most shocking part is that is unbelievable doubling takes immediate effect, disregarding booking like ours that were in final confirmation; leaving us with less options but to move such bookings to alternative markets.
But who loses? The worst scenario is when most operators decide an option like ours, hotels that have heavily invested will look at Rwanda Development Board with thousands of questions! The worst loser would be a gentle giant, a primate that finds itself priced beyond, because no amount of Conservation can ensure his/her survival like tourism!
The multiplier effect that comes with tourism is always silent when smart decision makers are choosing what means are better for the economy. The amount of money that can be lost/gained from visa collections, airport taxi man, guide driver, hotel reception, manager, chef and room service person you can go on and on; is what should be a focus of whoever is thinking for a nation, not a mere permit harvest!
Let’s watch and see!