A three-day conference on East Africa’s tourism kicked off Friday in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa.
The Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto urged African nations to develop “domestic tourism”.
The East Africa Tourism Development Forum brought together 250 participants from 10 countries including tourism ministers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Seychelles.
It aims to explore ways of unlocking East Africa’s tourism potential through the creation of a “joint marketing platform”.
In his opening remarks, Ruto called on African countries to encourage domestic tourism as a measure to promote the sector.
The number of visitors coming to Kenya from African countries in the first half of this year has increased compared with last year. They were mainly from West Africa with 6,255 Nigerian tourists and 2,838 Ghanaian tourists recorded, according to Ruto.
Meanwhile, the head of the UN tourism agency on Friday called on African countries to ease visa regulation to help promote the tourism sector.
The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) secretary-general Taleb Rifai told the East African Tourism Development forum in Kenya’s Mombasa that visa facilitation was key to unblocking tourism potential in the region.
“Increased connectivity and visa facilitation are key to unlock greater opportunity for each and every destination,” Rifai told the conference.