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Stakeholders push for joint EAC tourist hub, regional visa

Coast

Tourism stakeholders are pushing for the establishment of the East African Community (EAC) as a single tourism destination, in an effort to exploit the region’s tourism potential.

This was revealed during the opening of the recently held 3rd EAC Regional Tourism Expo (EARTE’23) and the Magical Kenya Travel Expo in Nairobi.

A new EAC tourism brand, “Visit East Africa–Feel the Vibe,” was also launched at the expo and aims to promote the region as a single investment hub.

Speaking while launching the forum, Tourism CS Dr Alfred Mutua said the expo was an opportunity for the region to jointly showcase its unique resources.

“This year’s theme, ‘Tourism for Green Growth,’ underscores our commitment to sustainable tourism. Kenya is set to introduce initiatives such as electric cars in parks and eco-rating schemes in our quest to propel tourism and our green growth agenda,” he said.

Representing EAC Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki, Trade Deputy Secretary General Annette Ssemuwemba said annual tourist arrivals are expected to increase to about 14.05 million by 2025 from the 7.2 million recorded in 2019.

Deputy Prime Minister of Uganda and Minister for EAC Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga, said it was critical for the region to make use of its natural resources.

“Fast-tracking of the EAC single tourism visa is critical to sell the region as a single tourism investment hub. I also urge partner states to fast-track development of the EAC Tourism and Wildlife Protocol,” she said.

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