11 December 2012

Rwanda's Move to Issue Visas At Point of Entry Is Timely

Photo: Timothy Kisambira/The New Times
The country's international airport.


EFFECTIVE January 1, 2013, nationals from African countries travelling to or transiting through Rwanda will be issued with entry visas upon arrival at any Rwandan entry point. The move to remove formalities in visa acquisition is a timely measure. It is in tandem with the spirit of the East African integration, and easing both regional and intra-Africa trade.

It also puts into perspective the country's effort in ensuring free movement of people, a crucial aspect in promoting trade and tourism.

Already there are plans to allow tourists visiting any member country of the East African Community (EAC) to use one Visa when visiting any of the partner states. The negotiations to adopt this are ongoing as part of the EAC integration process.

In taking this move, Rwanda is simply looking ahead of times to embrace the future of the travel industry. The initiative is a big boost for the country. It will facilitate a substantive increase in tourism traffic to Rwanda.

The move will also have a ripple effect in the region. It will make travels within the region very easy and will contribute to increasing domestic travel. Tourists and travellers across the EAC region, often spend many hours clearing at borders from one country to another because they had a different visa for each country on their passports.

Previous delays and bureaucracies involved in getting visas to travel either for business or tourism will be sorted by this move. Rwanda is only taking the lead and other African countries will have to follow suit.

For the country, it opens more doors to businesses, tourists, workers and students. Rwanda's economy is growing and it is a favoured destination for tourism, which fetched US$252 million in revenue this year, up from US$227 million last year. Rwanda's economy is still dynamic and growing. Deliberate measures like the issue of visas at point of entry are bound to create a positive growth outlook for the country.

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