Three East Africa Countries, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda have developed a joint regional tourism marketing initiatives aimed at promoting tourism within the respective countries.
Dubbed, ‘Destination East Africa Portal joint Advertisement and Documentary,’ this is the first time that Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda have committed and successfully executed joint promotional initiatives. This follows the successful implementation of the East Africa Tourism Platform, which activated the single destination visa program with the new initiative seeking to further consolidate the gains made so far.
In a statement, the Regional Coordinator of the East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP), Carmen Nibigira said the joint initiative will help simplify travelling experience for tourists.
‘’These promotional initiatives are timely, more so, given the prospects for tourism development in our region. They will enlighten our domestic and regional tourists on simplified travel procedures and help entice them to explore East Africa. It is our hope that they will cement our belief in regional tourism and help set the stage for further innovations in regional tourism marketing’’
Having chalked successes with the EATP, Ms. Nibigira hopes that the joint initiative will help establish the region as a preferred destination for tourists.
‘’ We are steadfastly working towards the creation of a single and competitive tourism destination. Key achievements have been made in the adoption of a Joint Tourism Marketing Committee with regional strategy, a single destination brand; that showcases our destination as one in tourism Expos, zero-cost work permits-enabling free movement of labour, Single Tourist Visa, interstate passes and national identity cards in travelling within the region.’’
Expressing worry over the numerous challenges that confront the tourism and travel industry within the region, Ms. Nibigira called for a concerted effort to deal with them.
She bemoaned, ‘’nevertheless, our region is still struggling with: divergent taxation and visa regimes, inadequate accurate and up-to-date tourist data, lack of an open skies, policy, protectionism, limited air connectivity and costly airfares, limited product, innovation and development, low-levels of skills among tourism workforce, low-quality of services, negative perceptions and resultant travel advisories
These challenges call for unity-of-purpose. We urge regional governments to adopt cordial-working relationship with the private sector. At the same, they should increase budget-allocations for domestic and regional markets, invest in market intelligence and incentivize low-cost carriers.’’
She called on the respective governments to act with speed, curb protectionism and liberalize airspaces to let citizens enjoy the benefits of low-fares and seamless-connectivity as enshrined in the provisions of an open sky treaty. She also urged tourist boards to adopt robust marketing strategies to turn tourism in the region around.