East African Community states agree to cooperate in packaging, tourism

EAST African Community partner states have agreed to cooperate in packaging and promoting tourism investment opportunities and incentives in the region through different forums.

This was remarked by the Minister of Commerce, Transport, Industry and Tourism in Burundi, Marie Chantal Nijimbere on behalf of the President of Burundi Evariste Ndayishimiye, during the final day of the second EAC Tourism Expo that was held in Burundi on Monday.

Speaking during the EXPO closing Nijimbere said the partner states have agreed that the regional tourism value chains should be strengthened in order to spread tourism benefits to the local communities and EAC citizens in general.

“One of the agreements stated by the EAC partner states is to organise the regular EXPOs at the national level in a bid to enhance their visibility as tourism destinations and market their tourism attractions,” she said.

Also, Nijimbere said that the other agreement they made was to create synergies and collaborate in the promotion of the region as a single tourism destination because all the partner states are rich in tourism resources and attractions.

She said that the EAC should be innovative and develop tourism products that will protect natural ecosystems and biodiversity while simultaneously addressing challenges such as environmental pollution and climate change.

She also said that in all partner states there is a need for deliberating the efforts by the EAC Secretariat in conjunction with involving women and youth in tourism as part of creating income-generating opportunities through tourism for marginalized segments in the region.

Also, Nijibere said that all the EAC states should work closely with the national tourism boards and private sector players, especially the East African tourism platform towards developing a database of buyers and trade partners for EAC as a bloc.

“In boosting the profile of the regional expo, it was agreed that there is a need for a budget at the regional level to facilitate preparations and organization of the EXPO,” said Nijibere.

She also added that the partner states were further called upon to fast-track the process of liberalising their airspaces and open up the skies to promote the tourism industry in the region.

On his part, the Minister for Wildlife Conservation and Tourism in South Sudan, Lt Gen Rizik Zackaria Hassan, said that the country was at an advanced stage in integrating all armed forces into the national army to ensure peace and security, which will in turn boost tourism in the country.