The East African Single Destination Tourist visa launched
KAMPALA - Three East African Community (EAC) States Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda launched a ‘single destination’ tourist visa in Munyonyo, Kampala in February 2014. The East African Tourism visa requires tourists to pay $100 instead of $150 for three separate visas, meaning the bearer will have saved $50.
Under the new system, the tour and travel company agents and other players in the tourism industry will also be able to offer multi-destination packages since tourists will now be free to move between the three countries.
The new visa has been modeled on the European Union’s Schengen Visa, which allows visitors to any of the 26 EU members to travel freely beyond their original destination. The Schengen Visa has been successful especially in terms of leveraging the comparative advantages of member states.
The visa, which costs $100 and valid for 90 days, enables visitors to travel around the three countries without seeking any other travel document.
In attendance was President Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and senior government officials from Burundi, South Sudan and Tanzania.
The CEO of Uganda Tourism Board, Stephen Asiimwe, said the visa will open the region to over one billion travellers from all parts of the world thus boosting tourism revenues. He further revealed that Tourism boards of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya will market the region’s tourism potential from a single hub.
A common platform of the tourist boards of the three countries will be accomplished in two weeks.
"This visa is a sign of tireless efforts of regional leaders and will continue to grow as we launch the joint marketing platform," he assured, adding, "our borders are now borderless."
Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa commended Rwanda for taking the lead in launching the Common East African visa, saying the region’s tourism sector is destined to grow in leaps and bounds.
President Museveni gave a brief speech, saying the region needs a fast and cheap mode of transport and that integration would improve East Africa’s economies and regional security.
He said the EAC integration would cure the infrastructure bottlenecks hurting the Northern Corridor.
On the raging South Sudan conflict, Museveni reiterated his earlier position that government responded to an 'alarm' from Juba.
On his part, President Paul Kagame said citizens of the countries involved in the infrastructure summit were the "ultimate judges of our work and I am confident that they fully benefit from the fruits of these initiatives."
He commended the ministerial teams whose efforts have led to the realization of several tripartite projects.
Kagame assured the signing of the Defence, Peace and Security Pact today was a significant milestone in protecting the region from cross-border crime.
Kagame revealed that Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda have joined hands to put in place a joint pavilion at next month’s international tourism fair in Berlin, Germany.
For more information visit http://www.visiteastafrica.org/visa/