Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda to offer joint visa starting January, 2014

Ministers from the three East African countries 
Tourism sector in three East African countries will from January next year benefit from a single visa deal that was jointly announced yesterday by the countries.
The deal announced during the ongoing World Tourism Market (WTM) in UK, will see member country states; Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda adopt a joint visa that will facilitate free movement of tourist and citizens alike.
Speaking after announcing the launch of the joint visa, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Mrs. Phylis Kandie, Uganda’s Tourism and Wildlife Minister Ms Agnes Egunyo and Rwanda’s High Commissioner to UK Ambassador William Nkurunziza said deal was a major boost to tourism.
“We have been in discussion over this matter for the last six months and we are proud today to announce that we finally have a joint visa that has made the three countries borderless. This is an opportunity us to increase tourist numbers as we will jointly offer diversified tourism products,” Says Kandie.
Tourism products from the three countries, pointed Kandie  are varied and with different tastes and noted that the single joint visa will now enriches on diversity and while at the same time increases the value of the product.
Rwanda High commissioner noted that the single joint visa was cost effective and will boost the strategy of repositioning tourism products in the region.

Uganda’s Minister for Tourism and Wildlife on her part lauded the joint visa deal and observed that the venture will make the three member states competitive and while at the same time build on regional integration.

Tanzania, a competing country in Tourism and other economic pillars in the region was not represented in the launch.

“Other EAC members will join us along the way since we have not locked any one out, said Kandie while responding to the press questions on the absence of Tanzania in the deal.

The joint visa has worked in other regional blocs such as SCHENGEN countries with member countries leveraging on comparative advantages and maximizing on it by pulling together their efforts and marketing the region as a single destination.
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said the single joint visa comes at the right time when Kenya is tapping into the regional market to grow her tourism pie.
“The single Visa is long overdue, it will now not only ease movements within the member states but would also allow the tourists to maximize value for money,” said Ndegwa

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