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Future tourism cooperation agenda set for East Africa

Future tourism cooperation agenda set for East Africa

East Africa Tourism sets the stage for upcoming tourism goals.

Earlier this week, tourism ministers from Kenya and Uganda, along with ministerial representatives from the other East African Community (EAC) member countries, alongside the private sector, met to take stock and plan ahead for the upcoming international trade show season.

Host was the East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP), the regional tourism apex body, and Carmen Nibigira, Coordinator of the program, who welcomed a large number of participants to the event.

The EATP made available information of what was discussed at the meeting and what resolutions were taken to drive the industry cooperation in East Africa and in particular among the NCIP (Northern Corridor Integration Projects) countries further ahead.


The Ministers of Tourism from the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) – Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda – accompanied by chief executive officers of their respective tourism boards, senior ministry officials, NCIP coordinators, and EATP officials – met earlier this week at the Lake Elementeita Serena Camp in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

The objective of the retreat was to revitalize regional tourism and more specifically review achievements and redefine the tourism vision of the NCIP. The following achievements, on-going projects, challenges, and resolutions were discussed.


– Capacity building of travel trade practitioners through destination training, familiarization trips, and regional stakeholder forums.

– Close collaboration between private and public sectors.

– Joint promotion of destination East Africa – in regional and international fairs.

– Standardization of accommodation facilities through EAC classification.

– Travel facilitation – through East Africa tourist visa, resident permits, and use of IDs and interstate passes as travel documents.

On-going Projects

– Development of East Africa destination portal

-Establishment of tourism information desks at key entry points

-Joint awareness campaigns on the use of East Africa tourist visa, IDs, and resident permits

– Joint pavilion at international expos such as ITB Berlin Convention and World Travel Market


– Changing business environment and dynamics
– Costly air transport
– Inadequate airline frequency and connectivity within the region
– Inadequate accurate and up-to-date tourism data
– Lack of innovation in product development
– Lack of verifiable returns on investment from joint initiatives
– Negative perceptions about the region
– Travel advisories


The ministers reinforced their commitment to transforming tourism in East Africa through:

– Adapting latest technological innovations in product development and marketing.

– Collaborating in influencing positive media coverage of the region.

– Developing a clear strategy for product development and diversification.

– Focusing marketing efforts on increasing consumer demand through road shows in tourist-generating countries.

– Harmonizing of tourism & wildlife management regulations.

–  Investing in market intelligence.

– Reviewing of EAC hotel classification criteria.

Wrote Carmen Nibigira then in closing: “As [the] East Africa Tourism platform, we are encouraged by the zeal exhibited by NCIP ministers in redefining the vision of regional tourism development and marketing within the EAC. In the process, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda are ahead of the pack in realizing the dream of ‘One Destination-One Visa East Africa,’ while Burundi and Tanzania are still invited. Further, EATP will tirelessly keep lobbying our policymakers to work jointly to realize EAC’s vision 2050.”

PHOTO (L-R): Ms. Belise Kariza, Chief Tourism Officer Rwanda; Hon. Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Kenya; Uganda’s Tourism and Wildlife Minister Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu; EATP Chairman Mr. Bonifence Byamukama;  AG CEO of Kenya Tourism Mrs. Jacinta Nzioka; and other stakeholders