Uganda, Kenya Urged to Lift Visa Restrictions to Boost Tourism

1 December 2023

In a significant push for enhanced tourism collaboration, private sector leaders in the tourism industry from Kenya and Uganda have jointly called for the removal of visa restrictions and the harmonization of industry laws between the two nations.

The plea was made during the Kenya-Uganda private sector tourism engagement held in Kampala, where over 30 industry players convened to address challenges and explore solutions.

Stephen Asiimwe, the Executive Director of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda, emphasized the potential benefits of addressing these issues, stating that it would significantly contribute to boosting the number of tourists traveling between the two countries.

Asiimwe's remarks highlighted the collaborative spirit needed to propel the tourism sector forward.

"While Kenya remains Uganda's leading source market for travelers, harmonizing visa restrictions and laws governing the two nations is crucial for unlocking the full potential of tourism collaboration," Asiimwe said.

Sam Mwandha, the Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), echoed the sentiment, calling for increased partnerships between the two nations.

Mwandha emphasized the importance of collaborations that enhance connections and pool resources to build knowledge about products and exchange industry trends, fostering a more robust tourism landscape.

Clara Ningome, the County Executive Committee Member for Trade, Tourism, and Cooperative Development, further underlined the significance of unified efforts in the tourism sector.

The call for harmonization comes as a strategic move to create a seamless experience for tourists and promote a shared understanding of industry regulations.

A recent report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed a positive trend in tourism between Kenya and Uganda.

The number of Kenyan tourists visiting Uganda saw a notable increase, reaching 376,294 by the end of December 2022, up from 336,294 in 2021--an upswing of 40,000 visitors.

The private sector's united appeal for collaborative measures reflects a commitment to fostering a conducive environment for tourism growth, emphasizing the need for streamlined regulations and enhanced connectivity between Kenya and Uganda

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