The East Africa Tourism Platform is worried a proposed hundred percent increase in gorilla tracking permits could have dire consequences for tourism in the region.
Currently, a permit could set you back by $600 in Uganda and more than twice that amount in Rwanda at $1,500 the endangered species.
There are approximately 880 mountain gorillas remaining in the wild particularly spread between Uganda and Rwanda, hence necessary they are protected from extinction.
Conservationists together with policy makers have over the years put in measures such as permit requirements and increased rates to protect wildlife and promote tourism but a recent recent proposal to increase gorilla tracking permits has members of the East Africa Tourism Platform(EATP) wondering if East Africans can afford or be willing to pay or if prices would be competitive anymore.
The group argues, though it is important to raise more funds for wildlife conservation, “managing the interface between tourism development, conservation of wildlife as a tourism resource and the needs of local inhabitants residing near wildlife tourism areas should be given first priority among policymakers”.
EATP is also concerned about the rippling effects of such an increase on the tourism value chain, tourist demand, Rwandan, Kenyan and Ugandan your operators selling multi-country packages.
“We need to strike a balance between conservation and tourism. Conservation depends on tourism revenue to succeed”.
East Africa Tourism Platform is calling on the Chamber of Tourism and Rwanda Development Board among other stakeholders to “continue with the dialogue and help seek the most appropriate to raising conservation revenue, improving product quality and empowering local communities”.