East Africa boosts tourism with unified online visa

East Africa boosts tourism with unified online visa

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 10:51 pm

Tourists in Kenya drive past some giraffes

Tourists in Kenya drive past some giraffes

The East African Community (EAC) countries are leveraging on a single online visa to help increase tourist arrivals in the region, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto said Tuesday.

Ruto told a tourism conference in Nairobi that Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, which had launched a single visa initiative earlier this year, were leveraging on technology to remove hurdles in the promotion of tourism in the region.

“We are leveraging on technology to market the region as a single destination with diverse tourist attractions, and I assure our visitors that we will make it worthy their while,” he said when he officiated at the opening of the 40th Conference of the Africa Travel Association (ATA).

Ruto noted that the decision to issue a single visa for visitors coming to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda was a milestone in promoting the three countries as a single tourism destination.

The lack of a regional common visa has been a major drawback towards marketing East Africa as a single tourist destination.

Foreign tour operators had complained of cumbersome immigration procedures at border entry points for those who wish to cover various circuits in East Africa.

Sources said the five East African Community countries, which also include Burundi and Tanzania, are also in the final stages of implementing a single visa.

Ruto said that efforts put into the promotion of tourism in Kenya were bearing fruit, with tourist arrivals in the country hitting 1.13 million last year, up 5 percent year on year.

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