On 6th March, 2014 Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda made an announcement on the introduction of the East African single joint visa, which took effect on 1st January 2014. The Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda Ministers and High Commissioners and Tourism Board Heads officially graced the launch of the new cross-border visa today at Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda common pavilion at this year’s Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) held annually in Berlin.
The tourist cross-border visa between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda costs USD $100. The single tourist visa resulted from a joint initiative and decision made by the Heads of State of the respective countries. Before the establishment of the single entry visa for Kenya was USD $50 (approximately £30), for Uganda was USD $50 (approximately £30) and Rwanda was USD $30 (approximately £18).
Kenya’s Minister for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Mrs Phyllis Kandie applauded the joint tourist move, ‘This will enrich the tourist product offering in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. The region will benefit from an increase of tourists and numbers of days spend in these countries that have a wide range of products. The region is bound to harvest a much larger share of the over 50 million tourists visiting Africa each year’.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board Amb. Valentine Rugwabiza said: “The launch of the cross- border visa is a huge milestone in our regional integration efforts that will continue to largely benefit tourists. We have already felt its positive impact, since January 1st, 2014, as we are noticing an increasing number of travellers to the East African region. With this partnership, our unique selling point as a region is highlighted as we have a wide range of experiences to offer.”
“The launch of the East Africa single tourism visa at the Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya tripartite meeting is a strong signal of the East African commitment to the integration process and marketing East Africa as a single destination. The visitors from our source markets will be able to benefit from the Multiple Entry Visa provision to tour the sister countries.” Hon. Dr. Maria Mutagamba, the Uganda Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiques confirmed.
Uganda is delighted to join her neighbours in providing greater value for the tourists and facilitating the movement of people through the Great Rift Valley states that share much commonality but provide a diverse range of natural and cultural attractions. The minister further notes that this initiative will make the region more competitive and is bound to reduce the cost of doing business in the region.
The introduction of the Joint tourist visa has so far boosted regional travel, adding value to the tourism product offerings of these countries and highlighted the diversity of East Africa.