Tourism is one of the key economic sectors in the East African Community (EAC). To rebuild and strengthen the sector after the COVID-19 pandemic, the EAC has developed and adopted the “East African Community Marketing Strategy 2021-2025”. It foresees the ‘EAC becoming the leading sustainable regional tourism destination in Africa’ and aims to ‘develop and promote inclusive and sustainable intra-regional and international tourism across the EAC region’.

In line with this strategy, the EAC and GIZ, via the SEAMPEC programme, jointly supported the Karibu Kilifair 2022, the largest tourism fair in the East African region, which took place from 3rd to 5th of June 2022 in Arusha, Tanzania. The fair attracted over 400 exhibitors from over 15 countries, international and regional travel agents, buyers from over 30 countries and trade visitors from across and beyond the East African Region.

The EAC Secretariat in collaboration with GIZ leveraged the opportunity to showcase and sensitize tourism stakeholders on EAC’s regional tourism programmes and activities. Additionally, exhibitors from the Tourism Boards of the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of South Sudan, the Republic of Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania joined hands with EAC in presenting the region as one tourism destination. Additionally, the East African Tourism Platform (EATP), East Africa’s leading tourism association, was invited to join the EAC tent to showcase their tourism offerings, establish necessary networks and to create visibility of the EAC as a single tourism destination.

Furthermore, EAC and GIZ hosted several partners such GIZ Rwanda and IIDEA projects focusing on the East African tourism sector, these included the Uganda Safari Guide Association (USAGA) and Kigezi Tour Guide LTD who leveraged this opportunity to organise workshops on “Harmonization of regional skilling of tour guides in East Africa,” and “Apprentices and mentorship of women tour guides in East Africa".

During the official opening ceremony, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, EAC Deputy Secretary General, emphasized that “the EAC integration agenda calls for sharing of cultural, political, and social spaces and promoting East Africa as a single tourism destination. Tourism fairs such as this help us to share with trade partners and the citizens what we have to offer. They help us not only in enhancing our visibility but also in establishing the much-needed networks and synergies in the tourism sector.” He further acknowledged the presence of the EAC Partner States who were participating at the event and recognized the support from GIZ not only in this event but other tourism recovery related initiatives at the regional level.

Tourism as a means of regional integration and a tool for sustainable development plays a key role in the EAC-GIZ partnership. The tourism sector does not only offer employment possibilities and is vital for private sector development, but also enables visitors from abroad and the region to explore, understand and cherish the natural heritage and biological diversity of East Africa. In her opening remarks, Mrs. Godje Bialluch, SEAMPEC Programme Manager stressed, “GIZ is eager to support the EAC and its Partner States in the future in implementing the EAC Tourism Marketing Strategy in addition to liberalization of the tourism sector.”

More information on EAC and GIZ tourism activities can be found here.