The East African Tourism Platform (EATP) a body that aims at increasing the visibility of East Africa as a single tourist destination has promised to proceed with the efforts of undertaking the regional marketing as a single destination for world travelers including those that undertake safaris to Uganda
The EATP which also intends to take up a key role in the efforts of
conservation so as to build a sustainable regional tourism industry is
made up of tourism boards from the partner states of the East African
Community along with the tour operators that take a credible role to
packaging of tourist products including Uganda safari products for the consumption of the traveling world.
One of the key members Yamina Karitanyi – the Tourism Officer in the
Rwanda’s Development Board noted that the EATP is moving to packaging
the region as a single destination, celebrate its flagship events in
tourism and ascertain the solutions to the challenges collectively which
is new and did not exist in the past. She mentioned the above aspects
while giving remarks in a meeting that convened the tourism boards of
the partner states of the East African Community and the tour operators
to contemplate about the opportunities and challenges that face the
tourism sector in the region which was held in Rwanda’s Capital Kigali
during the weekend.
The EATP meeting coincided with the gorilla
naming ceremony that occurred on Sept 5th where 24 baby gorillas were
given names. It can be noted that the annual gorilla naming event was
shifted from June to Sept to match with the joint initiative for
promoting tourism among the partner states of the northern corridor
integration comprising of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. Under this
arrangement, each country features a flagship tourism event that is
honored by the three states including Magical Kenya Expo for Kenya which
occurs in October and the Uganda Martyrs day that occurs every 3rd June
of Uganda. Martyrs Day is one of the major historical products that
have always pulled world travelers especially believers to undertake safaris in Uganda for pilgrimage and paying tribute to the converts.
initiative that is still confined to three states aims at incorporating
other nations like Tanzania and Burundi and the attendance of Kwita
Izina by the Burundi contingent shows that the remaining countries have
started to pick interest in the initiative.
The regional coordinator
for the EATP Carmen Nibigira noted that platform was in touch with a
range of tourism players in the region aiming at promoting regional
products, conservation of tourist sites and deep involvement of the
private sector to build networks and form partnerships aiming at
marketing the region as a single destination.
achievements of the platform so far include the East African Single
Tourist Visa introduction along with the use of national identification
to connect to the partner states of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. Presenting
East Africa as a single destination will see the increased tourist
product range and thus increased stay resulting into increased revenues.