Tourists coming to East Africa will now only have to apply for one visa after the launch of the UniVisa travel document in Nairobi.
Citizens of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, as well as tourists, will now be able to tour any part of the three countries using the UniVisa.
The Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Najib Balala, said the UniVisa will cost US$150, which is more affordable and also eases tourist accessibility to the three countries as well enhancing regional tourism.
Balala said that Burundi and Tanzania were not yet formally part of the coalition, but hoped they would join soon.
“We want them on board, but maybe they need time to appreciate the good. When they are ready, the doors are wide open,” said Balala during the launch at the ongoing Sixth Edition of the annual Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE).
He also said the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) will be a blessing for tourism, and added that it will not destruct the environment as speculated but it would ease transport across the East Africa region.
Uganda Minister of Tourism Maria Mutagamba said Uganda was committed to the UniVisa programme.
“As a region, we are not competing with each other but complementing each other and competing with the world,” she said, adding that regional tourism is very crucial to the economy.
She urged the East African media to create awareness on the importance of tourism.
Permanent Secretary, Fatuma Hirsi Mohamed, said: “We’re resilient as a tourism destination and happy that visitors are choosing Kenya as their Magical destination.” #BorderlessEastAfrica was the day’s hashtag as tourism companies at the fest endeared clients to take up holidays in the region.
The sixth edition of the annual Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) is an annual event organised by the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) that brings together, travel agents, tour operators and hoteliers in a central place to conduct tourism business. It is a unique opportunity for the tourism business operators to meet their clients, network, discuss business and sign contracts.