President Paul Kagame has said the African tourism sector will accelerate its pace if there is an increment in regional and continental collaboration especially to ease cross border travel.
The President was speaking Tuesday at the opening of the 41st Annual World Tourism Conference which is ongoing in Kigali, Rwanda.
The three day forum is organized by the Corporate Council on Africa and Africa Travel Association to look into how tourism can be utilized as an engine for economic growth, job creation through innovative business models, new technologies and strategic partnerships.
President Kagame said collaboration in areas such as open sky policies, appropriate visa regimes across the continent and visa free movement among others can play a huge role in boosting the tourism sector in regional cooperation’s and Africa as a whole.
“We need more cooperation on the continent in order to increase the numbers of visitors as well as facilitate trade and investment within Africa. Implementing existing agreements on open skies and easing visa restrictions are steps in the right direction,” he added.
The President also revealed that Rwanda had begun implementing initiatives such as the passport free travel to encourage intra-African tourism and the single tourist visa alongside some members of the East African Community.
“In Rwanda, we also want to strengthen the collaboration in our region and across the continent. A single tourist visa and passport free travel between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda is already a reality. So is visa on arrival for all Africans,” he added.
The President observed that tourism continues to be a major foreign exchange earner for a number of African countries, including Rwanda and has potential for further growth.
Tourism last year earned Rwanda $404 million with receipts expected to grow by 10 per cent this year to $440 million.
Midst the fundamentals for the desired growth and progress, he also listed strengthening good governance that enables countries to manage environments that support tourist attractions as well as the revenue they generate.