The Kenya Association of Travel Agents (Kata) has signed a deal with two Rwanda agencies on the development of business and leisure travel in the region.
The partnership with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Rwanda Chamber of Tourism (RCOT), with the facilitation of East African Tourism Platform (EATP) will explore solutions to help the sector transform and pivot to new audiences through joint marketing activities.
These will include familiarisation tours and educational webinars targeted to increase opportunities for private sector actors in the travel industry.
The partnership was signed in Nairobi on Thursday by Kata Chief Executive Agnes Mucuha, EATP Chairman Fred Odek, Rwanda’s Ambassador to Kenya Richard Masozera, (representing RDB and RCOT) and RwandAir Country Manager Robert Okumu.
In the agreement, Kenya and Rwanda will share their respective calendar of events for stakeholders’ information and attendance, and engage other agencies from various African regional blocks in the spirit of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
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“This collaboration will allow for greater sharing of ideas, resources and expertise,” said Ms Muchuha.
“The partnership places Rwanda and Kata on the path to becoming a regional and continental lead in creating safe travel experiences, yet meet the needs of travellers.”
RDB Chief Executive Clare Akamanzi said they look forward to working more closely across the board with all the players in the travel and tourism industry.
“Kenya and Rwanda are already one of the most popular destinations for the growing regional tourism market,” she said.
While pledging RwandAir’s support for the initiative, Mr Okumu said they have offered discounted air fares and holiday packages for Kenyan to visit ‘the land of a thousand hills’.
He said an average 1,000 passengers travel between Nairobi and Kigali every month for business and leisure.
“RwandAir will be the title sponsor for the air tickets during the familiarisation trips to Rwanda, facilitating the much-needed product knowledge and experience,” Okumu said.
Kenya is already one of the most popular destinations in Africa for Rwandese visitors.
Equally, Kenyans are increasingly choosing Rwanda as their regional destination of choice.
“Rwanda and Kenya are adored by local and foreign visitors alike, and this increased cooperation between the two countries will see an uptick in the numbers of travellers interested in visiting both countries,” said Rwanda Chamber of Tourism Chairperson Aimable Rutagarama.
“The strategic partnership lays strong foundations to tap the potential of Kenya and Rwanda as a promising traveller destination for the regional and international market.”
EATP’s Odek said the partnership will shape the course of regional tourism.
“If there is ever a period for the region to come together to grow its tourism and the associated economic gains for its industry players, now is without a doubt the right time,” he said.