Tourists will soon be able to visit any member countries of the East African Community (EAC) using one VISA.
Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, Abdul Karim Harelimana, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly Committee on Tourism, said the negotiations for adopting the visa are ongoing.
“Immigration officials from EAC are discussing modalities of putting the visa in place and they are yet to hand in the report to the Secretary General,” he added.
Harelimana explained that they are negotiating how to share revenues as some countries have been getting larger shares from visa fees.
He stated that the negotiations are underway on how the visa will look like, especially now that some countries use electronic methods at entry points.
“One single visa will facilitate a substantial increase in tourism traffic to the EAC region,” he noted.
The report from the immigration officials will then be transmitted to the Council of Ministers who will forward it to the summit of the EAC Heads of State for signing, before it becomes operational.
Michael Mutisya Joshua, the Executive Director of RMS Ltd - Travel Partner, a tour company, said that it will make travels within the region very easy and contribute to increasing domestic travel.
“The common tourist visa will give opportunity to countries in the EAC to develop their tourism industry,” he said.
Mutisya added that tourists visiting the region, often spend many hours clearing at borders from one country to another because they had a different visa for each country on their passports.
The move for EAC to have one single tourist visa followed an appeal by tourism boards of partner states in 2006 requesting for a common visa to accelerate promotion of the region as a single tourist destination.