East African Nations Unite to Enhance Regional Tourism

East African Nations Unite to Enhance Regional Tourism

East African countries are pulling together to offer tourists a more comprehensive and captivating experience by integrating their tourism destinations. This collaboration was announced during the Oromia Tourism Week 2023 held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The initiative is targeted at providing tourists the opportunity to explore a variety of destinations within the East African corridor, thus creating a more wholesome and enriching experience.

Aiming for Attractive, Integrated Tourism Packages

Sarah Kirenga, a representative of the Rwandan Chamber of Tourism, explained the importance of this regional tourism integration. According to her, this collaboration will facilitate the sale of complete and attractive tourism packages, a development that will significantly enhance the regional tourism sector. The representative further emphasized that this integration would provide a platform to create a network in the tourism ecosystem, promote a variety of tourism products, and boost regional tourism.

East Africa: A Region of Diverse Attractions

The East African region is globally recognized for its unique natural and cultural tourist attractions, many of which are inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List. In addition to these, the region is also home to popular safari destinations with an abundance of fascinating historical and archaeological sites. Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – countries within this region – have already begun marketing their tourist destinations as a unified region, offering tourists a diverse range of attractions.

Boosting Intra-Travel and Implementing Regional Marketing Plans

Anthony Ochieng, a market development representative of the Ugandan Tourism Board, stressed the necessity to focus on regional tourism rather than individual destinations. He stated that the countries within the East African region are cooperating to promote intra-travel and implement the East African tourism marketing plan. The intention is to market East Africa as a region and not just individual destinations. Under this plan, tourists can experience a variety of attractions in different countries, such as ‘The Big Five’ (lion, leopard, cape buffalo, rhinoceros, and African elephant) in Uganda.

Oromia Tourism Week: Promoting Tourism Potential

The Oromia Tourism Week serves as an annual event that aims to showcase the unique tourism offerings and experiences available in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. This event brings together tourism stakeholders, government representatives, industry professionals, and visitors from around the world to explore and appreciate the region’s vast potential as a top tourism destination. It acts as a significant platform to highlight the benefits of regional tourism and promote the integration of various tourist destinations within East Africa.

Investment and Future Prospects

With East Africa’s steady growth as a tourism destination, investment in world-class tourist facilities is becoming increasingly essential. The East Africa destination tourism insight market report indicates that the region has the potential to become a competitive tourism destination in the future, provided it attracts suitable investment and adequate infrastructural development. The report also highlights the region’s key selling point – its wildlife – which is also under threat due to factors such as habitat loss and poaching. However, numerous conservation initiatives have been established to protect these species, indicating a growing awareness of the need to protect the region’s wildlife.

The integration of East African countries to enhance regional tourism is a strategic initiative that will not only boost the tourism sector of the individual countries but will also create a more enriching and diverse experience for tourists. With adequate investment, sustainable conservation initiatives, and an effective regional marketing plan, East Africa can evolve into an attractive and competitive tourism destination in the global tourism market.

Source: bnn

Global Tourism Rapidly Recovers from Pandemic Slump

International tourism has continued to recover from the worst crisis in its history as arrival numbers reached 84% of pre-pandemic levels between January and July 2023, according to the latest data from UNWTO. The Middle East, Europe and Africa lead the global sector’s rebound.

Tourism on Track for Full Recovery

Tourism demand continues to show remarkable resilience and sustained recovery, even in the face of economic and geopolitical challenges. The new issue of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer tracks the sector’s recovery over the course of 2023 up to the end of July. The UNWTO Barometer shows:

  • By the end of July, international tourist arrivals reached 84% of pre-pandemic levels.
  • 700 million tourists travelled internationally between January and July 2023, 43% more than in the same months of 2022.
  • July was the busiest month with 145 million international travellers recorded, about 20% of the seven-month total.

UNWTO data once again shows how tourism is recovering strongly in every part of the world. But as our sector recovers, it also needs to adapt

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “UNWTO data once again shows how tourism is recovering strongly in every part of the world. But as our sector recovers, it also needs to adapt. The extreme weather events we have witnessed over recent months as well as the critical challenges of managing increasing tourism flows underline the need to build a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient sector and ensure recovery goes hand-in-hand with rethinking of our sector.”

Results by Region

All world regions enjoyed strong rates of tourism recovery over the first seven months of 2023, driven by demand for international travel from several large source markets:

  • The Middle East reported the best results in January-July 2023, with arrivals 20% above pre-pandemic levels. The region continues to be the only to exceed 2019 levels so far.
  • Europe, the world’s largest destination region, reached 91% of pre-pandemic levels, supported by robust intra-regional demand and travel from the United States.
  • Africa recovered 92% of pre-crisis visitors this seven-month period and the Americas 87% according to available data.
  • In Asia and the Pacific, recovery accelerated to 61% of pre-pandemic arrival levels after the opening of many destinations and source markets at the end of 2022 and earlier this year.

The UNWTO World Tourism Barometer contains results by region, sub-region and country, including best-performing destinations in terms of international arrivals and receipts over the first seven months of the year.

Looking ahead

These results show international tourism remains well on track to reach 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023. Prospects for September-December 2023 point to continued recovery, according to the latest UNWTO Confidence Index, though at a more moderate pace following the peak travel season of June-August. These results will be driven by the still pent-up demand and increased air connectivity particularly in Asia and the Pacific where recovery is still subdued.

  • The reopening of China and other Asian markets and destinations is expected to continue boosting travel both within the region and to other parts of the world.
  • The challenging economic environment continues to be a critical factor in the effective recovery of international tourism in 2023, according to UNWTO’s Panel of Experts.

Persisting inflation and rising oil prices have translated into higher transport and accommodations costs. This could weigh on spending patterns over the remainder of the year, with tourists increasingly seeking value for money, travelling closer to home and making shorter trips.

Source: Mirage news

Uganda Tourism Board Advocates Direct Flights to Boost Tourism

The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is in talks with the Immigration Department about allowing international tourists to fly directly to tourism destinations.

According to the Uganda Tourism Board, which is tasked with marketing the country beyond its borders, the move will save tourists time and money while also making transit easier. Currently, all international arrivals must first land at Entebbe International Airport to be cleared to enter the country before continuing on to their destinations.

Lilly Ajarova, the chief executive Officer of the Uganda Tourism Board, said the new arrangement, if given the green light, will allow tourists to reach their destinations faster and more conveniently.

Ajarova continued by saying that she has heard complaints, particularly from local tour guides, who claim that the delays have cost them a lot of time and money.

“The trend in international travel has changed; now, people want to travel light to explore as much as they can in as little time.  Our air connectivity faces many difficulties. Air connectivity is crucial if we are to make significant progress in growing the number of visitors to this nation and the revenue from tourism, according to Ajarova.

She claimed that even though Uganda has the largest population of mountain gorillas and the costs are lower, the country has not been able to generate much income from them due to the distances and poor roads needed to get to the tourist destinations.

“We are losing a lot of revenue from our Gorilla tracking. For all these years we have been earning from Gorilla tracking, we have never reached 100 percent occupancy, where we sell all our Gorilla permits. Our rates are half the rates of our competitors, and the major reason is that we don’t have direct flights to Bwindi or Kisoro. Everyone has to go through Entebbe before they can take local chartered flights,” she said.

According to data from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), in 2019, the airport safely facilitated 32,798 aircraft movements. The number reduced to 14,421 in 2020 because of COVID-19 lockdown, increasing to 21,584 in 2021 and 28,985 aircraft movements in 2022.

Ajarova said that while the figures are steadily recovering, the immigration department must move out of its comfort zone to extend visitor clearance to other aerodromes so that tourists can directly fly to such destinations and get cleared there.

Herbert Byaruhanga, the chairperson of the Uganda Tourism Association, said they have been crying out to the government to open up facilities so that tourists can land anywhere in the country and get cleared at their points of entry, but not only at Entebbe Airport.

“Why do we have to struggle to get clearance? Make the whole of East Africa local and allow people to fly visitors from Kenya, Tanzania, or any other country in the region directly so that more numbers can come in,” he said.

Source: News central

Tanzania’s tourism industry bounces back with 37.2% increase in tourist arrivals

  • Tanzania’s tourism industry is staging a comeback, with earnings surging from $1.95 billion in July 2022 to $2.99 billion in July 2023.
  • Tourist arrivals increased by 37.2%, reaching a record 1,658,043 visitors.
  • Europe and the United States remain primary sources of tourists visiting Tanzania for leisure and holidays.

Tanzania’s tourism industry is making a remarkable comeback nearly four years after its revenues plummeted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recent data from the Bank of Tanzania reveals that tourism has staged an impressive recovery, contributing $2.99 billion to foreign exchange earnings in July 2023, compared to $1.95 billion in July 2022.

According to the Bank of Tanzania, this represents a 33% surge in service receipts, reaching $5.49 billion in July 2023, up from $4.12 billion in July 2022.

The bank also noted that this resurgence in tourism and increased earnings from gold have played a pivotal role in boosting Tanzania’s service earnings to over $5 billion for the first time in its history.

In 2019, Tanzania’s tourism sector generated approximately $2.52 billion, but by December 2020, its earnings had dropped significantly to just $1 billion.

Gold emerged as the country’s primary foreign exchange earner during this period, generating $2.958 billion in December 2020.

The recovery in the tourism sector is highlighted by a 37.2% increase in foreign arrivals, totalling 1,658,043 visitors during the year—reaching an all-time high.

The previous record for tourism earnings in Tanzania was $2.5 billion, achieved in 2019 when the country welcomed 1,527,230 tourists.

Europe and the United States remain primary sources of tourists visiting Tanzania for leisure and holidays, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Source: Business Insider Africa

Kenya Set to Host Regional Tourism Expo in November

It is Kenya’s turn to host the 3rd edition of the East Africa Regional Tourism Expo (EARTE) slated for November as the country roots for regional tourism.

While unveiling the event at KICC set for November 20th -22nd 2023, Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza at the same time announced that the event will be held alongside the annual Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE).

She said the twin tourism fairs will enhance Kenya’s and the region’s visibility, forge partnerships and enhance investments in the hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.

 “This year, we shall be integrating the Magical Kenya Tourism Expo (MKTE) and the East African Regional Tourism Expo (EARTE) seamlessly, demonstrating our unwavering commitment to unity and a shared vision within the East African Community,” Malonza said.

“During this period, Kenya will host regional tourism stakeholders and players in the sector. The events provide a platform for the travel trade in the region to showcase and network with the world, my ministry is are dedicated to promoting tourism within the region.”

She added that the tourism sector continues to play a key role in enabling the regional economies.

 “By creating opportunities towards building inclusive growth and employment, EARTE and MKTE 2023 will allow us to keep industry stakeholders informed on progresses made towards industry growth and the new strategies, programs and partnerships available in the market.” Said the CS.

Malonza also emphasized that expos form an integral part of the tourism sector and that it is imperative that countries work in collaboration with their respective regional partners in an effort to strengthen tourism.

The Principal Secretary East Africa Community Abdi Dubat said: “The tourism sector contributes an average 9.5 percent of the East Africa region’s GDP and average 7.1 percent of employment opportunities in the  region translating to over four million jobs.

The East Africa Regional Tourism Expo (EARTE) and the Magical Kenya Tourism Expo (MKTE) presents us with an opportunity to share our unique and common heritage to the world.

The region is ready to share and promote quality tourism to the world, we now have greater potential for intra Africa tourism which we should continue to advocate for” Said Dubat.

On his part, Principal Secretary for Tourism John Olotuaa said “The hosting the two epos is a genuine manifestation of our commitment to promote intra-regional tourism flow across our borders. We are confident that this platform will provide opportunities for consolidation of relations among our partners across Africa, Europe and beyond. These relations will go a long way towards increasing tourism receipts from key and emerging source markets,” she said.

The East Africa Regional Tourism Expo (EARTE), is an annual regional travel fair showcasing the region’s diverse tourism offering to consumers, and trade, hosted by the East African Community partner states on a rotational basis.

The inaugural Regional Tourism Expo was hosted by the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) in October 2021 in Arusha, while the second edition was hosted by the Republic of Burundi in September 2022 in Bujumbura.

The Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) is Kenya’s annual flagship travel trade fair that brings together tourism stakeholders, partners and media from some of Kenya’s key source markets in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

The two expos have been combined into one event, creating more value and enhancing the level of engagement at the show for all the participants.

Kenya Tourism Board Ag. CEO John Chirchir commented: “We are delighted to be hosting these two expos because it gives us an opportunity to profile Kenya as a unique tourist destination globally.

The fairs will also provide an opportunity for us to consolidate our position as a premier Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) destination in the region, which is key in efforts to grow and maintain our global share of the international tourism market.”

Source: Capital Fm

Kenya to leverage MICE as it targets bigger revenue share from tourism mix

Kenya is targeting a bigger share of revenue from Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE), a lucrative part of the tourism mix across the globe.

The Cabinet Secretary, Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, Peninah Malonza, says that the Government will spearhead bids to host at least 10 regional and international conventions in Kenya every year, and adds that the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, KICC, a premier event location, will play a key role in this drive.

The CS observes that the 2022 International Congress and Convention Association Destination Performance Index report reveals that Kenya ranked second in Africa as an ideal location for hosting association meetings.

The MICE sector is an important contributor to the Kenyan economy. According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the tourism sector, including MICE, contributed 8.8 percent to Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product in 2019. Furthermore, the MICE sector grew by 5.5 percent in 2019, generating Sh115 billion (approximately USD 1.05 billion) in revenue.

The global MICE market, which involves travel for business-oriented purposes, was valued at USD 876.42 billion in 2022 and is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 7.5 percent from 2023 to 2030. MICE is a niche of the travel and tourism industry.

Ms Malonza explains that goal of MICE is to provide an enhanced, customised hospitality setting that brings together top professionals from various industries.

She notes that the market is benefiting from an increase in the number of companies worldwide that offer MICE services. This is contributing to the sector’s growth.

Says the CS: “Kenya aims to leverage its distinctive attributes to maintain a substantial portion of the market share in the industry. Improved destination management, with the assistance of KICC, which has been entrusted with the responsibility, can facilitate the achievement of this goal.”

Since its inception on September 11, 1973, KICC has been the preferred venue for meetings and conventions in East and Central Africa, and in fact gave birth to Kenya’s MICE industry. Through it, Kenya has hosted numerous high-profile conventions, personalities, signature events and even signed treaties and made declarations – KICC recently hosted the Africa Climate Summit that attracted more than 12,000 regional and international delegates and several heads of state, among other dignitaries.

Ms Malonza says her ministry is grateful to President William Ruto for spearheading the bid to host this important global conference in Kenya.

Such conferences and events are the surest way of raising Kenya’s profile and positioning it as a preferred destination for MICE.

The CS further notes that KICC is the only purpose-built convention centre in East Africa. KICC was designed by Norwegian architec, Karl Henrik Nostvik, in 1967.

The design structure combined the understanding of traditions, aspirations and environment of the people of Kenya with the needs of modern conference organisers in terms of space, administration and auxiliary services and requirements.

The Convention Centre and the Conference tourism sector in Kenya has undergone various milestones and memorable events have taken place at the KICC since 1973, 50 golden years later.

After its recent refurbishment, KICC is primed for bigger meetings in its next 50 years.

Source: Business Daily

Hotels lose their competitive edge amid the rise of Airbnbs

The exponential growth of Airbnb in major towns around the country is shaking up the Kenyan hospitality industry as it devours a share of traditional hotels’ revenues.

The proliferation of the service has also seen a significant drop in room prices and occupancy rates, a spot check by Weekend in Business shows.

Over the past 10 years, Airbnb has grown into the world’s largest online marketplace for accommodation and now qualifies as a disruptive innovation.

And just as in the rest of the world, the hospitality industry in Kenya is slowly experiencing a shift as hotels and lodgings lose out to the rising popularity of Airbnb services.

A spot check shows that more landlords who own holiday homes within Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Naivasha, Mombasa, Nyeri, and Nanyuki towns, among others, have turned to the Airbnb platform and are reaping huge returns.

Since its launch in 2008, Airbnb has become popular among travellers seeking affordable accommodation, convenient location and household amenities.

In Nyeri County, for instance, iconic hotels including the Outspan, The White Rhino, Treetops and the Greenhill Hotel, which offer traditional accommodation, are on the verge of closing down as Airbnbs eat into their market share.

According to the Nyeri-based owner of Hampton’s Apartment, Linet Murage, holiday homes have become popular, threatening the existence of traditional hotels.

She says Airbnbs have an edge over these hotels in that prices are negotiable, allowing clients to stay for extended periods. “I decided to venture into the Airbnb business after noting that holiday homes were in high demand in Nyeri,” says Ms Murage.

She ventured into the business in 2021 by converting her house into a holiday home to compete with surrounding hotels.

“It was not an easy road. In 2019, I was a casual labourer but started saving from the little I earned. I invested the savings in furnishing and decorating my house. After the pandemic, I discovered that those looking for accommodation had started shifting to other towns, where there were holiday homes,” says Ms Murage.

She later rented the house next door after her neighbour moved out and converted it into an Airbnb too. Studies show the Airbnb business model has flourished for many reasons.

Customers like having access to an enormous supply of properties and rooms at a wide variety of prices, often more competitive than hotels, and Airbnb collects commissions on every booking.

In addition, players say, the company does not follow conventional rules. “Airbnb does not ensure the security of guests, it’s not taxed in some jurisdictions, and it has the flexibility to add new supply because of a lack of regulation,” says one study into the business model.

This has benefitted entrepreneurs like Ms Murage, who is capitalising on the boom.

The beauty of the Airbnb concept is that one does not have to legally own the building, with many operators hiring out rented space, which they furnish to meet the required standards.

And with guests increasingly opting to stay in Airbnb accommodations, competition between traditional hotels and Airbnb is boiling over.

“The industry has become very competitive. To offer the best customer service, I offer breakfast, laundry, toiletries and a chef on request. If a client gets the best service, they will refer you to other clients. I only charge Sh3,000 per night and allow only two visitors in one room,” she says.

Cause disruption

Ms Murage sees holiday homes as the future of accommodation and dreams of expanding her business.

And she has every reason to be optimistic. A recent study showed that the rise in popularity of Airbnb was always going to cause disruption to the established Kenyan hotel industry, much in the same way that Uber upset traditional cab companies.

This disruption can be understood as part of a wider move towards disruptive technologies and online community marketplaces, experts say.

The desire for homeowners to earn an income by sharing their homes has unlocked a hitherto underutilised asset through the Airbnb platform.

“Many hotels offer very poor services, while an Airbnb offers clients a totally different experience. Home sharing platforms are likely to gain more ground over time as travellers become increasingly aware of their benefits,” says Ms Murage.

She added that landlords who own holiday homes are ready to comply with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and ensure their businesses are registered.

“People are embracing Airbnb. It is a good business to venture into, let all those willing to join get their business registered to avoid giving room to conmen,” she said.

James Mwangi, a lodging owner in Nyeri, said since the launch of Airbnb in the town, his business has taken a considerable hit. “We used to get many clients, but they now prefer to book Airbnbs located outside the town for a quiet night’s rest, leaving our rooms empty,” says Mr Mwangi.

He now plans to convert his rooms into Airbnbs to stay in business. One of the more obvious ways hotels have been responding to the competitive threat of Airbnb has been via their pricing strategies.

While it’s not ideal, it’s still preferable for a hotel to have some minimal level of occupancy rates at discounted prices compared to managing an empty hotel.

Hotels are also listing themselves on the Airbnb platforms to tap short-term clients.

They are also leveraging amenities like swimming pools, steam rooms, gyms, ample parking and adequate security, which Airbnbs lack, to counter the new wave of competition from the platform.

Source: Zurulink

Forum on tourism, creatives, cultural industries to launch at ATLF 2023 in Gaborone

The emergence of creative tourism reflects the growing integration between tourism and different place making strategies, including the promotion of the creative industries.

It is against this background that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is partnering with Africa Tourism Partners (ATP) to host the inaugural forum on tourism, creatives, and cultural industries.

The launch of the forum will take place during the Africa Tourism Leadership Forum & Awards (ATLF) scheduled for October 4-6, 2023, at the Gaborone International Conference Centre, Botswana.

Following the development, Botswana is gearing up for the hosting of the inaugural AfCFTA Forum on Tourism, Creatives, and Cultural Industries.

The forum seeks to involve key Pan-African and intra-Africa travel and tourism stakeholders and related sectors to harness the value of the continent’s creative and cultural assets in order to stimulate demand for intra-Africa travel. It will also highlight and harness emerging trade opportunities with regards to intra-Africa travel and tourism investments sectors, and will be used to launch the newly established Africa Tourism Private Sector Alliance (ATPSA), an apex body for Africa travel and tourism private sector.

Moreover, the objective of the forum is to use the body to leverage the opportunities under the AfCFTA. Themed, “Shifting demand dynamics to shape the future of intra-Africa Travel”, the 2023 ATLF & Awards will present distinct networking avenues, business opportunities and learning programmes relating to intra-Africa travel, franchising, creative industries and culture, tourism investment, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events), digitalisation and more. The forum discussions will be led by renowned global experts, ministers, CEOs, business executives, policy-makers, entrepreneurs, academics, researchers, practitioners and DMCs.

As well, hotels, lodges, guest houses, B&Bs, DMCs, restaurants, tour operators, travel agents, online travel agents, marketing agencies, NTOs, DMOs, associations, women associations, youth association, entrepreneurs and all key industry stakeholders are set to benefit from high level B2B sessions, tourism entrepreneurship masterclass, intra-Africa travel & tourism roadshow & exhibition starting on October 3, 2023. The ATLF & Awards 2023 will also feature destination showcase & presentations from all participating Africa member states as a way of promoting destinations to a wide spectrum of global participants.

Excited to host the 6th annual ATLF, Botswana has expressed its readiness to enthral the over 500 physical delegates, including the media and hosted buyers from across the globe at the Gaborone International Convention Centre, Grand Palm, Gaborone, the country’s capita; city and across other attractions.

The ATP is a UNWTO-affiliated award-winning Pan-African tourism development and strategic destination marketing advisory firm. The firm specializes in tourism and MICE strategy formulation, investment facilitation and promotion, research, master planning and destination market development and capacity building across Africa’s travel, tourism, hospitality, aviation and golf sub-industries.

On the other hand, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a free trade area encompassing most of Africa. It was established in 2018 by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which has 43 parties and another 11 signatories, making it the largest free-trade area by number of member states, after the World Trade Organization, and the largest in population and geographic size, spanning 1.3 billion people across the world’s second largest continent.

Source:   Business Day

President Ruto Says Investment in Cultural Tourism Will Expand Economic Opportunities

The Government is keen on promoting cultural tourism to generate more tourism revenues.

President William Ruto said the Government will exploit Kenya’s rich cultural heritage to diversify tourist attractions.

He argued that tourism is no longer just about sights and sounds but also about the people.

He noted that the Government will partner with Counties to support cultural preservation initiatives.

He cited the provision of funds for Maa Cultural Festival that will be celebrated annually.

“Today’s tourist is drawn to authentic cultural experiences; therefore, today’s tourism must meet a higher standard,” he said.

He made the remarks on Tuesday during the Maasai Cultural Festival at Sekenanie Gate, Narok County.

He was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Peninah Malonza (Tourism) and Soipan Tuya (Environment), Governors Patrick ole Ntutu (Narok), Joseph Lenku (Kajiado) and Jonathan Lati Leliliit (Samburu) and a host MPs.

He noted that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has identified induction of boys ahead of initiation, shaving of morans and meat-eating ceremony that marks entry into adulthood as Intangible Cultural Items.

“I extend my gratitude to the Maasai community for their unwavering commitment to the preservation of Maa traditions and culture. Your resilience has given Kenya a global identity and enriched our nation’s cultural mosaic,” he said.

The President said Government will start ceding 50 percent of revenues from national parks to host communities as part of efforts to transform their lives.

He said the move was aimed at benefiting host communities, through projects aimed at uplifting their lives.

“I have directed that all revenues from our national parks and game reserves should be divided equally between the host counties and the national government,” he said.

Source: CapitalFm News

Uganda, Kenya Seek to Complement Each Other to Maximize Tourism Potential

Uganda and Kenya have announced dates for the second edition of the Uganda-Kenya coast tourism conference set for November this year.

Speaking on Tuesday, the state minister for Foreign Affairs, John Mulimba said the conference is yet another opportunity for both countries to seek to maximize the tourism potential between them.

“Uganda possesses some unique tourism products that can be used to make it one of the world’s leading tourist destinations. We possess some of the rarest primates in the world, Namugongo Martyrs shrines, source of River Nile and the rich culture, among others,” Mulimba said.

“Kenya is Uganda’s leading source market and last year alone, over 370,000 Kenyans visited Uganda for various reasons. Also, Uganda is Kenya’s second leading source market after the USA. Just last year over 150,000 Ugandans visited Kenya and out of those 22,000 visited the Kenya Coast.”

He said the conference is yet another opportunity for both countries to increase their tourism potential.

“The increasing number of tourists between Uganda and Kenya Coast has been aided by the improved air connection between Entebbe and Mombasa. Currently, Uganda Airlines operates three weekly direct flights between Entebbe and Mombasa. This is complimented by daily flights by Kenya Airways through Nairobi. Moreover, it is also possible to travel between both countries by road, using national identity cards. Thus, it is possible to leverage on the improved connection to grow the tourism between Uganda and Kenya coast.”

Uganda to tap into Kenyan coast

Kenya’s coastal tourism is booming with thousands of tourists going to the country enjoy various tourism products including the historical Fort Jesus, beaches, resorts, marine national parks, elephant sanctuary, the dolphins, slave caves, sacred forests, Vasco Da Gama Fort, white sands, coral reefs, diving and snorkeling among others.

However, according to Amb.Paul Mukumbya, Uganda’s Consulate General in Mombasa, Uganda seeks to tap into these big numbers.

He insisted that each of these countries needs each other.

“The Kenyan coast is one of the biggest hubs for tourism on the continent mainly because of the biggest beaches. On the other side, in Uganda we have products that are not at the Kenyan coast like the Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees, adventure tourism on River Nile, a special product called the Kampala nightlife, cultural tourism and many others that Kenya doesn’t have. By joining synergies, we can tap into each other’s tourism numbers,” Mukumbya said.

“The concept we are working with is creating synergies and working through complementarity at the Kenyan coast and Uganda. We want to see that if someone comes to tour the Kenyan coast, on the same itinerary, they can visit Uganda and look at the beauty we have and the vice versa as those who come to Uganda can visit the Kenyan coast.”

According to Stephen Asiimwe, the Executive Director of Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) by tapping into the tourism numbers to Kenya’s coast, Uganda stands a chance to also grow its tourism numbers.

He added that Uganda is well placed to tap into these numbers.

“The thousands of tourists to the Kenyan coast have money and time. They have done Zanzibar a hundred of times, Serengeti and many other places but they don’t know what is happening this side (Uganda). I can bet you if we can get them here, they can spend the money as they enjoy what Uganda has to offer,” Asiimwe said.

The second Uganda-Kenya coast tourism conference will be held between November 13 and 14 at Neptune Paradise Beach Resort and Spa in Diani, Kwale County in Kenya under the theme, “Consolidating Networks, Synergies, and Diversity to Maximize the tourism potential between Uganda and Kenya Coastal Region”.

The conference will also have tourism excursions, and farm trip.

Source: All Africa