Single EAC visa with entry fees for each country is meaningless

Editor,THIS IS with reference to your article in yesterday’s edition of The New Times entitled “Rwanda pushes for single EAC tourist visa”.

Editor,

THIS IS with reference to your article in yesterday’s edition of The New Times entitled “Rwanda pushes for single EAC tourist visa”.

The very purpose of a single East African Community visa is to avoid having to pay visa fees or entry fees each time a tourist travels from one EAC partner state to another. As Rica Rwigamba, Head of Tourism and Conservation at the Rwanda Development Board, rightly stated in the article, “the fee is an impediment to tourists”.

Thus, a single EAC visa, with entry fees for each country is meaningless!

I do agree with Grace Awulo, Acting Head of Tourism for Uganda, that visa fees or entry fees are a “source of revenue” for each member country.

If a family of four persons, for example, desiring to tour East Africa, has to pay as much as approximately US$200 just for crossing over from Rwanda to Uganda and then again another US$120 for returning to Rwanda, they might well decide to skip Uganda all together and the much larger source of revenue in terms of hotel accommodation, meals, sightseeing etc, will be lost.

So, while visa or entry fees might be a source of revenue for each partner state, having to pay multiple visa or entry charges each time one crosses over from one country to another would definitely hamper tourist movement among EAC countries.

Clarence Fernandes, Mumbai, India

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