East Africa Tourism Platform urges countries to embrace regional single visa

The East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP), the umbrella body for the tourism sector in the region on Wednesday 15th September urged Tanzania, Burundi, and South Sudan to embrace the East African tourist visa move.

Frank Mugisha, the Managing Director of EATP said that Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda are already part of the single regional tourist visa.

“We want to market East Africa’s tourist attractions jointly in order to boost overall foreign tourism revenues,” Mugisha said.

The East African Business Council and EATP have signed a memorandum of understanding geared to market the East African Community (EAC) bloc as a single tourist destination.

Mugisha said that since the outbreak of the COVID-19, the tourism sector revenues in the EAC block have reduced significantly.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the need to work together and synergize in the tourism sector so as to leverage on our different tourist attractions,” he added.

According to EATP, the single tourist visa will lead to more sales of tourist packages for international travelers by taking advantage of the close geographical proximity of EAC tourist sites.

“The international visitors will be able to see and experience more attractions from a single trip to East Africa,” Mugisha added.

He observed that Kenya and Tanzania beach and safari products coupled with Uganda and Rwanda gorilla tourist packages will be marketed jointly.

Kalisa urged EAC governments to sustain tax and statutory deductions for the tourism sector to support its recovery.

He said the new partnership is set to strengthen collaboration on joint research, policy advocacy, capacity building at EAC and international levels to support the recovery and growth of the tourism sector amid the COVID-19.

The joint partnership also seeks to roll out capacity building for tourism service providers and fairs to brand and market the EAC region as a single and most attractive tourism destination.

On the other hand, also EATP also launched a three-month campaign dubbed “TembeaNyumbani”, in the East African Community (EAC) Partner States.

TembeaNyumbani, is a Swahili word meaning Visit Home. This is a call to the citizens of the countries in the East African Community to visit each other’s countries – in an effort to promote domestic and regional tourism business in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. In the spirit of East African unity, the tourism body is drawing wisdom from the popular adage that as an East African, any East African country you travel to is a home away from home.

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