The Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA), Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Rwanda Chamber of Tourism (RCT) and the East African Tourism Platform (EATP) have signed a partnership that will see the development of business and leisure travel in the East African Community.
The framework will enhance cooperation between the above parties and improve the region’s competitiveness as a tourism destination.
As part of the agreement, the partners will collaborate on addressing challenges faced in the region’s travel industry and explore a range of solutions and initiatives that can help transform businesses in the sector, market the region’s tourism offerings to new audiences and promote regional travel.
The partnership will see RDB, RCT and KATA cooperate to implement Rwanda’s and Kenya’s tourism marketing and promotional programmes by conducting joint-marketing activities that will drive visitors to the countries’ attractions and experiences.
The bodies will also organise familiarization trips and educational webinars to promote regional travel, thereby creating increased opportunities for private sector actors in the travel industry.
Signatories agreed to provide opportunities for exchanging knowledge, expertise, and best practices on travel and to promote the exchange of familiarisation visits between Kenya and Rwanda.
They will work hard to encourage tourists flows between Kenya and Rwanda, something that may explain that a tourism promoter would need to sell both Rwandan and Kenyan tourism package and vice versa.
Furthermore, the signatories agreed to share the countries’ respective calendar of events for stakeholders information and attendance.
To give this initiative more strength, they also committed to engaging other African regional blocks through the new Africa Continental Free Trade Area which was launched on 1 January 2021.
According to RDB, the partnership was announced in the presence of Richard Masozera Rwanda’s Ambassador to Kenya, Ms. Agnes Mucuha, the Chief Executive Officer for KATA, Fred Odek, the EATP Chairman and Robert Okumu the RwandAir Country Manager, Kenya.
“We are very excited about this cooperation and look forward to working more closely across the board with all the players in the travel and tourism industry as we look to increase tourism revenues and create more jobs within the sector,” Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board said.
“Kenya and Rwanda are already one of the most popular destinations for the growing regional tourism market and we look forward to having more people visit and taste the unique offerings in these destinations.”
According to Aimable Rutagarama, Chairman of the Rwanda Chamber of Tourism, “Rwanda and Kenya are adored by local and foreign visitors alike and this increased cooperation between the two countries will see an uptick in the number of travellers interested in visiting both countries.”
Rutagarama further said: “Today’s strategic partnership lays strong foundations to tap the potential of Kenya and Rwanda as a promising traveller destination for the regional and international market.”
Agnes Mucuha, Chief Executive, Kenya Association of Travel Agents also shared a similar satisfaction and was confident that the partnership will yield many fruits.
“We are honoured to partner with the Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda Chamber of Tourism, and the East Africa Tourism Platform as this collaboration will allow for greater sharing of ideas, resources, and expertise,” Mucuha said.
“This partnership places Rwanda and KATA on the path to becoming a regional and continental lead in creating safe travel experiences, yet meet the needs of travellers.”
On the side of Fred Odek, Chairperson of the East Africa Tourism Platform, the belief is that “This partnership will shape the course of regional tourism. This is the best time for the region to come together to grow its tourism and the associated economic gains for its industry players.”
Meanwhile, the national carrier- Rwandair is also expected to play an important role in this partnership.
Robert Okumu, RwandAir’s Country Manager for Kenya said: “RwandAir (WB) will be the Title Sponsor for the Air Tickets during the familiarization trips to Rwanda facilitating the much-needed product knowledge and experience.”
He added that RwandAir has also released special discounted airfares and holiday packages for the Kenyan public to visit and explore the land of a thousand hills.
Tourism is a vital aspect of Kenya-Rwanda bilateral cooperation. Kenya is one of the most popular destinations in Africa for Rwandan visitors and continues to attract more visitors every year.
Equally, Kenyans have been increasingly choosing Rwanda as their regional destination of choice with the City of Kigali and other in-country destinations on a list of places to visit by Kenyans.