The East African single tourist visa was launched in Washington D.C by the ambassadors of Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda to US, in a bid to attract more tourists to the region.
Ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana of Rwanda, together with her counterparts, Jean Kamau and Oliver Wonekha of Kenya and Uganda, respectively, launched the visa at the embassy of Rwanda yesterday.
The visa makes the three partner states a single tourist destination and places East Africa among the top tourist destinations in the world. It also symbolises continued efforts and cooperation among the partner states.
The launch was attended by officials from the US Department of State and visa agencies in Washington DC. Others present included members of the US business community and civil society organisations.
“Travelling in the three countries has been made easier for tourists and residents and we hope the single visa will improve the economies of partner states,” Mukantabana said.
“The East African single tourist visa will not only strengthen our trilateral relations, but also showcase the diversity our countries have to offer,” she added.
The East Africa single tourist visa was launched in February this year by the heads of state of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
The visa costs $100 (about Rwf66,500) valid for 90 days and is paid at the point of entry in a member country or foreign missions.
The issuing country will take $40, including $10 for administrative cost, while the other two members will share $60.
A holder of a single tourist visa will have the freedom to move around the three countries without paying more fees.
Since its introduction, tour agents say the document has eased movement of tourists by eliminating bureaucratic tendencies.
Tourism is Rwanda’s top foreign exchange earner, fetching Rwf178 billion last year. The sector has recorded investments worth $32.8 million this year, according to Rwanda Development Board.