Rwanda waives COVID-19 test requirement for tourists exploring national parks

  • World
  • Tuesday, 30 May 2023

KIGALI, May 29 (Xinhua) -- The Rwanda Development Board (RDB), a government institution, announced Monday that tourists visiting national parks in Rwanda will no longer be required to undergo COVID-19 testing, but those visiting primates must wear face masks.

The move comes as the country aims to recover from the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on its tourism industry.

"All tourists, including children over five years, where applicable, visiting the country's national parks are no longer required to present a negative COVID-19 test," the RDB said in a statement.

A face mask will remain mandatory for those visiting primates, it added.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Rwanda, the RDB implemented strict regulations for tourists, such as mandatory COVID-19 testing and the use of face masks, to prevent the transmission of the virus to wildlife within the national parks.

Throughout the pandemic, Rwanda required all visitors arriving via charter flights to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before arrival, plus a second test before visiting any tourist attractions.

The decision to drop COVID-19 testing requirements for tourists follows the World Health Organization's declaration on May 5 that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a "global health emergency."

This change in policy aims to support the recovery of the tourism industry in Rwanda, which has been significantly impacted by the pandemic.

Rwanda's tourism revenues increased to 445 million U.S. dollars in 2022, up 171.3 percent from the previous year, with nature-based tourism bearing the potential to drive the country's economic growth, according to the latest RDB data.

Gorilla trekking, a unique tourist attraction in the East African country, generated 113 million dollars in revenues, according to the RDB.

It said Rwanda attracted about 110,000 visitors to its national parks in 2022, an increase of 142.4 percent from 2021.

Rwanda targets to increase tourism receipts to 800 million dollars by 2024, according to the RDB.

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