Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have used the platform of the renowned ITB tourism fair in Berlin to promote the new East African tourist visa, which came into force on January 1 this year.
The cross-border visa between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, which costs $100, resulted from a joint initiative and decision made by the Heads of State of the countries. Before the establishment of the single entry visa for Kenya was $50, for Uganda was $50 and Rwanda was $30.
Kenya's Minister for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Phyllis Kandie, applauded the joint tourism initiative. "This will enrich the tourist product offering in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. The region will benefit from an increase of tourists and number of days spent in these countries that have a wide range of products. The region is bound to harvest a much larger share of the over 50 million tourists visiting Africa each year."
The CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, Valentine Rugwabiza said that the cross-border visa is a huge milestone in regional integration efforts. "We have already felt its positive impact, since January, as we are noticing an increasing number of travellers to the East African region. With this partnership, our unique selling point as a region is highlighted as we have a wide range of experiences to offer."
"The launch of the East Africa single tourism visa is a strong signal of the East African commitment to the integration process and marketing East Africa as a single destination," confirmed Maria Mutagamba, the Ugandan Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiques. "The visitors from our source markets will be able to benefit from the Multiple Entry Visa provision to tour the sister countries."
The introduction of the joint tourist visa has so far boosted regional travel, adding value to the tourism product offerings of these countries and highlighted the diversity of East Africa.