East Africa has recorded impressive achievements in the realm of tourism owing to the conscious efforts by EAC Partner States to work together in promoting growth in the sector. The success of the tourism sector has benefited from immense private sector investments in hotels, transportation, marketing and product development, and dedicated government efforts in conservation. One of the priorities of the EAC is promoting its Partner States as a single destination, where tourists can visit various sites across EAC Partner States easily and cheaply through a single multi-entry visa system thereby creating benefits across the region for the tourism sector. In addition, Partner States have agreed on joint promotion of tourist attraction sites, the adoption of EAC preferential rates for EAC citizens, which are applicable to public tourist sites such as parks and museums, and harmonisation of criteria for Hotels as well as other accommodation establishments.
Tourism is a key income stream for EAC Partner States. Hence, building the industry and creating benefits for tourism operators and citizens within the Common Market has been a focus for the EAC. Ongoing efforts include market access for EAC Tourism Services providers without discrimination based on nationality as well as harmonising the standards in the region by developing common criteria for the classification of tourist accommodation establishments and restaurants. This guarantees a quality standard and predictability in the expected quality of service in the region. However, there is need to promote more cooperation and collaboration to exploit the regional potential as well as resource sharing and joint efforts for resource conservation. Tour operators should therefore be able to move and provide their services in the region without cumbersome barriers and be able to utilise and leverage on the available potential the region has to offer.
Objective: Develop joint proposals to remove barriers and restrictions for EAC tour operators for provision of services in the EAC region.
Approach: SEAMPEC facilitates the free movement of tourism services and services providers through the removal of barriers and restrictions such as registration requirements for tour operators and tour guides. Activities include:
Find more information on SEAMPEC here.
Objective: Innovative EAC integration stories in the tourism sector are showcased with the objective of raising citizen-awareness.
Approach: IIDEA supports small-scale projects in the EAC tourism sector to foster cooperation among young tour guides, tour companies and government authorities in the tourism sector in order to develop an East African network in the tourism industries and facilitate the free movement of visitors as well as of people working in the tourism industry across borders.
Examples of supported projects:
Find more information on IIDEA as part of the SEAMPEC programme here.