KATA to promote outbound tourism to EAC countries 1

KATA to promote outbound tourism to EAC countries

  • This KATA led initiative is part of the association’s strategic role within the African Continental Free Trade Area
  • Kenya and Tanzania are some of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, there have been calls for African countries to focus on intra-African travel

On Thursday 27th May 2021, the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) CEO, Agnes Mucuha led a delegation of Kenya’s travel and tourism industry representatives to a meeting with High Commissioner of Tanzania to Kenya Dr. John Simbachawene at the Tanzania High Commission in Nairobi to discuss strategies for mutual collaboration and partnership with Tanzania in promoting outbound tourism to Tanzania.

This strategic meeting comes at a time when KATA has shifted its focus to promotion of outbound tourism to EAC countries in bid to help its members expand their horizon of business as well as well as improving bilateral ties with the countries to get more tourists to Kenya and simultaneously send tourists from Kenya to those destinations.

This KATA led initiative is part of the association’s strategic role within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to promote outbound travel and tourism operations within the East African Community (EAC) member states with an intent to develop a model or cross-border tourism.

In March 2018, African leaders signed three separate agreements: the African Continental Free Trade Agreement; the Kigali Declaration; and the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons. The three agreements work with the aim of reducing bureaucracy, harmonising regulations and avoiding protectionism in several sectors including aviation, travel, tourism and hospitality.

The association invited stakeholders from Kenya Association of Tour Operators, East African Tourism Platform, the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre – East Africa and other stakeholders in the hospitality and tourism sector to discuss how to strengthen the trade-in travel and tourism services between the two countries.

The meeting brought to the fore issues that need to be tackled such as the current trade barriers between Kenya and Tanzania that affects travel and tourism industry, handover of tourists at boarder points, increased costs of safaris, work permit challenges for tour drivers, extra fees for vehicle crossing to Tanzania, and limitations of access points into Tanzania. The trade barriers in travel and tourism are predicated upon the 1985 agreement that was signed by both states with a view of creating a platform for the flow of tourists between the two states. The agreement was driven by a market protectionism mind-set that is no longer viable today, and there was failure to adopt the EAC common market protocol that promotes mutual collaboration and cooperation.

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