Ugandans to travel to Rwanda and Kenya without Passports.

A year back, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda established a tripartite agreement meant to promote inter-state travels among the three countries. Since then, a couple developments have been registered. The Visa was scrapped and the construction for a standard railway was commissioned.

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Currently, a pledge was made to establish a system through which citizens from the three countries can travel using only their National Identity Cards as opposed to passports.

While officially launching the sixth edition of Magical Kenya at Kenyatta International Conference Center Nairobi, Hon. NajibBalala, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Tourism Kenya noted that the move was the missing link to creating a ‘borderless East Africa’ and the idea will be implemented by close of 2016. He added, “Against this background, I urge Kenyans, Ugandans and Rwandans to take the opportunity to start exploring the very best of what each other’s country has offer.”

Magical Kenya Travel Expo is a key annual event in the African region organized by Kenya Tourism Board (KTB). The three-day event hosts overseas source markets with the intent of promoting destination Kenya and Africa in general.

Under the theme- Tourism for all; Explore endless Travel possibilities, this year’s edition started on the 11th October attracting over 140 hosted buyers representing over cities from Kenya’s key source markets in Europe, Asia, Americas, Africa and the Middle East.

During the event, KTB Ag. Chief Executive Officer Jacinta Nzioka-Mbithi (Mrs) highlighted that the expo has continued to play a key role in intra-regional tourism growth with Eastern Africa countries registering high growth in tourist numbers for the first quarter of this year, “Uganda is our top market in the region and has recorded a 16% growth in arrival based on the first quarter results of the year (Jan-March 2016) with 8,200 up from 7,072 arrivals last year” Mrs Nzioka-Mbithi said

She also added “Rwanda has recorded a 20.1% with 2,815 arrivals up from 2,344 in the same period under review. Ethiopia, has posted 51% arrivals from 2,274 arrivals last year (Jan-march) to the current 3,454.”

According to the Senior Marketing officer; unlike last year where only 15 tour operators joined Uganda tourism board in promoting the country, this year they are close to 30. This increment could go a long way in amplifying our voice to potential visitors.

Bitarakwate adds that Uganda will also organize a day’s training for tour operators from across Africa at its stall during the three-day event. The training will be led by stakeholders of the country’s tourism such as Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Uganda Tourism Board and Uganda Wildlife Authority. The move is intended to broaden the knowledge of the tour operators and travel experts with the intent of facilitating the influx of more tourists to the country. Asked about what makes Uganda’s participation at the expo worthy, Tony Mulinde, Managing Director Speke Holidays Uganda, a powerhouse indigenous owned company observes that Kenyans are good repeat visitors.