Tanzania quits EAC common visa plan


To spite Kenya, Tanzania has reportedly pulled out of the East African Community [EAC] common visa plan launched between Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

The common visa is meant to enable the member states to jointly market their tourism as a single product.

The East African reports that Tanzania also wants nothing to do with the joint marketing strategies pushed by Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda and will not participate in the East African tourism platform events.

The joint visa has been issued to 4,000 tourists who will be visiting the three countries, now dubbed ‘the coalition of the willing’.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala told press on Wednesday that Tanzania was wary of competition from Kenya.

“Tourists who will be moving between the three countries that form the coalition will now be using a common visa that will be charged at $100 (Sh10,122) instead of $150 (Sh15,183) that each country charged before,” Mr Balala is quoted as saying.

He added: “The coalition of the willing has also agreed to have a common East Africa stand at the world Travel Market to be held in London on November 7. The stand has been dubbed ‘borderless East Africa’, but Tanzania will not be part of it.”

Balala said the problem with the East African region is that countries live with “a fear of the unknown”.

He said the number of tourist arrivals from the region indicated Tanzania’s numbers had shrunk compared to Uganda.

“From Uganda, we had 50,000 arrivals. From Tanzania we had 30,000, while we had 25,000 from Ethiopia. We are yet to get numbers from Rwanda and Burundi,” Balala said.

The latest development comes just months after Tanzania declined to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between EAC and European Union (EU).

In May this year, Tanzania baffled Kenya after President John Magufuli lured Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni to withdraw its earlier decision to connect its oil pipeline with Kenyan oil fields in Lokichar, all the way to Lamu port, instead favouring the Tanzanian route linking the oil fields to Tanga port.

Rwanda too opted to develop a rail link to Indian Ocean ports through Tanzania, abandoning Kenyan route.

The East African

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