Tourism Boost? Rwanda Pushes For Single East African Community Tourist Visa

Tourism Boost? Rwanda Pushes For Single East African Community Tourist Visa

From New Times

Rwandan delegates at a regional technical meeting in Kigali are pushing for the waiver of tourist fees under the single visa system that Kenya and Uganda have shared sentiments for.

The delegation, during the meeting of the three EAC partner states, said the move would increase the flow of tourists in the region.

By implication, if Rwanda’s position is adopted, a tourist would only pay a single visa fee upon entry in one country and automatically access the others without paying any additional fee.

Using identity cards

The tripartite meeting discussed the implementation of the proposed single visa and use of identity cards as travel documents within the three countries, among others.

“Tourism will definitely increase significantly once this is implemented. The fee is an impediment to tourists,” said Rica Rwigamba, the head of tourism and conservation at Rwanda Development Board.

With this, Rwandan participants suggested that tourism visa regimes be harmonised with the differences seen as another stumbling block to the industry.

The three countries have different visa regimes with fee ranging from $5-50 for single entry and $50-100 for a multiple entry visas.

However, officials from the other two countries maintained that the single visa should be introduced, but tourists pay the fees upon entry into any of the member country, saying the fee is a source of national revenue that should not be compromised.

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Although all East African Community (EAC) partner states had previously shown interest in fast-tracking the implementation of the single visa, it has been marred by setbacks, including lack of harmonized visa regimes, lack of a mechanism for sharing the financial cost of administering the single tourist visa and sharing the revenues collected, as well as the poorly developed ICT infrastructure at national level to facilitate connectivity of the entry/exit points, among others.

Read more at New Times.