The East Africa single tourist visa launched in February 2014 took off to a false start, attracting only 1,560 applications by December 2014. The Kenya Tourist Federation, which represents private players, said enthusiasm was dampened by insecurity.
“The uptake has been slow because Kenya, which is seen as a big brother in the region, is struggling due to real and perceived security threats that have reduced our international tourist arrivals numbers,” said Ms Agatha Juma, CEO Kenya Tourism Federation.
She also blamed lack of awareness among players in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda which signed up to the single tourist visa. She said most of them do not know what they can market. “The challenge hampering the sale of a multi-country package is the lack of marketing,” she said.
To promote awareness, KTF has secured Sh9 million from Trademark East Africa to educate tour operators about the opportunities available in the region. At the same time, stakeholders said they would lobby for diplomats and expatriates to be allowed to move within the region freely.