africa

UTB Asks government to cut Visa Fees

A Uganda tourist entry Visa today cost $100 equivalent to over Shs300,000 charged per tourists from the previous $50 doubled last year, which is actually the most expensive visa fee out of the rest of East Africa. On the other hand the single East African Visa, which grants visitors access to all East African countries including Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda goes for the same amount – $100. This makes destination Uganda a difficult destination to sale, with the unfavorable Visa rates which are too high. Uganda’s high visa fees scare away some tourists, opting to visit other East African countries where it is cheaper. In Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania visa fees is $50 per tourist.

Destination Uganda has so much to offer tourists with a variety of adventure activities which attract tourists to this destination. Uganda’s biggest trade mark is the rare endangered mountain gorillas which can only be found in 2 other destinations in the entire world. At present tourists are looking at Rwanda’s volcanoes national park as a more preferred destination mainly because of ease of access. With just about 2 hours drive from the Kigali international airport, accessing Volcanoes national park is much more convenient for all types of travelers as compared to 8-9 long hours of drive from Kampala or Entebbe international airport. Rwanda is a much easier destination for budget, business travelers with less time.

Uganda still is blessed with numerous unique wildlife which can be seen in the different national parks spread around the country.
Uganda’s neighboring country’s of Kenya and Tanzania offer a more authentic wildlife adventure experience as compared to the experience in Uganda. Still, Uganda’s unique trade mark the mountain gorillas can also be seen in Rwanda, her neighbor.

With Ugandan visa prices being high, Uganda will be missing out on a large number of potential tourists and hence losing foreign exchange and general unemployment for local tour operators.

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Open Visa & Ease of Entry a Major Booster for African Tourism

The bureaucracy entailed with applying and the wait for a travel /tourists Visa is a frustrating process which ends up making numbers of promising tourists from visiting their planned destinations. This is one of the major reasons why African countries receive large number of tourists as compared to European countries. Entry visas to European countries are very difficult to obtain while Visa for most Africa countries are quite easy to get either online or on arrivals.
Most African countries have made it easy for visitors to get entry visa, for example East Africa, has an open Visa, where you obtain a single travel visa for $100 and can cross to all East African countries with ease
However, in recent years the script seems to have changed over the past few years, as governments continue embracing the idea of ‘open visas’.

In a report from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Open Visa, growing economies continue to be more receptive to foreign visitors entry than developed economies. East Africa remains one of the most open regions, while Central Africa and North Africa were, in 2015, the most restrictive sub-regions.

Visa restrictions contribute to over 9% world gross domestic product of missed economic gains from the tourism sector (GDP) and one in every 11 jobs

Therefor an open visa policy highly aids tourism growth and expansion as it contributes to easy of access for tourists. Open visa policies could create numerous job opportunities not only in the tourism and travel industries but the countries at large, to the millions of Africans who continue to dwell in joblessness and poverty. More tourists would result in more hotels, restaurants, recreation centers, and malls in the respective countries and thus an upsurge in economic growth.

According to the 2016 report from the African Development Bank on Africa Visa Openness, free movement by people highly benefits is the hallmark of regional economic integration, tourism and travel industries facilitate trade and economic growth across the continent

In bid to promote visa openness in Africa, the African Union aims at introducing an African passport while at the same time abolishing visa requirements for all African citizens on the continent. Major efforts towards achieving this goal have been seen in various African countries. These include the launch of the East African single visa covering Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda by the East African Community (EAC) in February 2014; the “KAZA” (Kavango Zambezi) common tourist visa covering Zambia and Zimbabwe; and the single visa scheme covering tourists visiting all Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states.

Posted by admin in africa