Local and International tourism entities planning to operate in Rwanda can now begin processing for licenses online and no more queuing at the registrars office.
Those interested can log on to www.tourismregulation.rw and get details as well as apply for a license. The new website is operated by Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
“As we advance in quality service provision, we should focus on investing in effective administrative mechanisms which to a great extent depend on licensing to strengthen the industry’s legitimacy and position in the region,” said Belise Kariza, RDB’s Chief Tourism Officer.
RDB first conducted a short pilot program introducing the online license application to a selected group of tourism entities in November last year.
According to RDB, the pilot participants were required to submit an online license application, upload a series of supporting documents, pay an application fee of Rwf80, 000, and undergo physical inspection to demonstrate that they have fulfilled all license requirements.
Having successfully completed the process, RDB is now ready to issue tourism operating licenses to a group of 10 hotels and tour operators and invite other entities to also apply.
Under the new online tool, tour operators wishing to do their business in Rwanda will need to pay Rwf80, 000 ($96).
Besides license application, the new website gives the public access to the law and ministerial orders, as well as answers to a number of frequently asked questions.
RDB will execute a phased roll-out of the tourism operating license in an effort to give entities sufficient time for compliance and to ensure entities benefit from efficient application processing.
Tourism entities are advised to await direct communication from RDB or their relevant associations for information on how and when to embrace the new system.
The law regulating tourism industry in Rwanda officially was enforced on 28 July 2014. Tourism operators have been conducting their business without existing license.
“We have only been conducting regular inspections to these entities since there was no law providing for of a license. But this new online platform marks the official beginning of issuing licenses,” an official at RDB told KT Press.
Regulations of tourism licensing were developed in accordance with East African Community (EAC) standards.
RDB projects to fetch $444 million (Rwf370 billion) from tourism this year, up from $404 million in 2016.
Last month, Rwanda Development Board introduced 4 main reforms to continuously ease doing business in Rwanda. These include starting a business, securing a construction permit, trade across Rwandan borders as well as registering a property.
Under the new reforms, for instance, free online registration of a business was introduced while the cost for registering a business in person was slashed from Rwf25, 000 ($30) to Rwf15, 000.
In other reforms, according to RDB, a client will no longer be required to submit a tax clearance as has been the case. This exercise will be conducted by Rwanda Revenue Authority – the country’s tax body through coordination with the National Land Centre to provide information on clients’ tax status.
For construction permits, according to RDB, application requirements were reduced from 14 to 6 under the new reforms.
Furthermore, under the new reform, a business owner trading across Rwandan borders will be required to present 3 documents; the packaging list, the commercial invoice and the bill of landing or airway bill. Before the reforms, a businessman was required to provide 8 documents before extending his business outside the country.