11th May, 2014 Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda made an announcement on the East Africa single joint visa, which took effect on 1st January 2014. The Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda Ministers, High Commissioners, Heads of Tourism Boards, Tour operators and other private sector tourism stakeholders officially graced the launch of the new cross-border visa during Indaba Fair, the Top Africa’s Travel Show that is held annually in Durban-South Africa.
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 number of days spends 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 Rwanda Ambassador to South Africa H.E Vincent KAREGA said “This Single Tourist Visa is a benchmark in our journey and commitment to making the three countries the best and competitive destination and putting our region on the world travel map. It is also a success story and great signal that our three Heads of State are conscious that tourism is at the forefront of economic development. We are confident and proud of this integration endeavour that comes at the right time and will benefit tourists by eliminating multiple visa process thereby boosting tourism revenues and investments in the region”
“The launch of the East Africa single tourism visa at the Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya tripartite meeting is a strong signal of the East Africa 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.