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Speed up EAC tourist visas, taskforce told

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Introducing a single tourist visa for the region is taking too long and should be fast-tracked, ministers responsible for tourism in the East African Community partner states have said.

To this end, the taskforce assigned to study the technicalities on its implementation has been asked to submit its report to the secretariat by next month.

“The task force established to conduct the study on the EAC single tourist visa is taking too much time to complete the study,” the ministers said at the end of the 4th meeting of the EAC Sectoral Council on Tourism and Wildlife Management in Mombasa.

The EAC secretariat was directed to submit the study report to the partner states before being tabled at the 5th council meeting in Bujumbura, Burundi, in April next year, for consideration and possible adoption.

The ministers also resolved that the partner states should remove the bottlenecks facing the tourism in the region.

Mr Najib Balala, Kenya’s minister for Tourism, urged his counterparts to fast-track regional issues in the sector to strengthen the bloc as a single tourist destination.

He added that they should develop a common marketing strategy to sell the region.

“If we work together, tourists visiting the region will increase, bringing in more foreign currency to grow our economies. A single tourist visa will bring diversity, which makes East Africa one of the top tourist destinations in the world,” he said.

The EAC deputy secretary-general, Mr Jean Claude Nsengiyumva, revealed that the region will soon undertake a common classification of tourism facilities and regulate industry standards across the board.

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