For those planning for a safari to Rwanda, traveling to and within Rwanda is now easy and flexible than before. On 8th November 2017, the government of Rwanda in cooperation with directorate general of immigration and emigration together with Rwanda tourism board passed a new visa regime, which allows issuing of Rwanda visas on arrival to all travelers coming who will be coming for Rwanda safaris from the start of next year. The new visa regime in Rwanda will apply with effect from January 1st 2018 and all travelers from all countries will be allowed to get a 30 days visa upon arrival without applying for the visa. Receiving of Rwanda visa on arrival is an advantage for traveler’s especially last time travelers some of which have been discouraged from traveling due to the longtime visa application procedures. Rwanda has for long been known for free and un restricted movements but has now made it easier through the issuing of Rwanda visas on arrival to all visitors regardless of the nationality. The new visa regime is aimed at encouraging more travelers to Rwanda with no visa restrictions.
Previously travelers from Central African Republic, Chad, Benin, Ghana, DRC, Senegal, Guinea, Indonesia, Mauritius, Haiti, Seychelles, Philippines, Singapore, Sao Tome and Principe were allowed to visit and stay in Rwanda without visas for 90 days. For other countries, which were not legible to free visa, they have been required to apply for the visa online or at the Rwandan diplomatic missions of their country of residence.
With Rwanda’s revised visa regime, foreign residents in Rwanda will only present their cards of residence while crossing the border while binationals will only present valid identification cards as the only required document. This creativity and innovativeness of Rwanda government and responsible tourism bodies is one of the key factors that has contributed to the success of tourism in the land of a thousand hills. In 2016, Rwanda emerged as the ninth African countries with minimal entry restrictions according to the Africa Visa openness report.
All travelers from East African community partner states (EAC) will now be granted visas free of charge valid for 90 days which is hoped to boom combined safaris in Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. Comesa members are also at a privilege of receiving a 90 days visa free stay in Rwanda upon arrival and payment of the prescribed fees. Rwanda nationals who are living abroad will only present their Rwanda national identity card if they have dual nationality hence easing their coming back and movements within their own country. The new innovative strategy of the Rwanda government is hoped to earn them rewards in the tourism sector.
New strategies such as visa regimes and extensive marketing are the only way for tourism success in all East African countries. There is great competition in the tourism market since all East African countries sell similar products which are wildlife viewing, mountain climbing, cultural tours and scenic viewing hence great competition for tourists. The only way to be different is to become innovative so as to attract more travelers for travelers for the same product. For Rwanda, the new visa regime is hoped to attract more travelers while to Uganda it is a lesson to learn. Uganda the pearl of Africa should watch out, come up with something new and implement new strategies so as to be on the same level with the neighboring Rwanda and Kenya.
In Kenya, the government has put much emphasis on infrastructure and pricing in addition to having Kenya airways ad a national airline, which is the same way in Rwanda. The direct flight to Rwanda and Kenya is one of the factors for the success of tourism sector in these respective countries. Uganda on the other hand is at a disadvantage having no national carrier and hence no direct flights from United States o America, Europe and even within the region.
Conclusively therefore, these are no more hustling with Rwanda visa, book a Rwanda safari now, come 2018 and enjoy all that Rwanda offers with no visa restrictions.