Fresh call to harmonize immigration laws to promote tourism

By Zaninka Umutesi
On 4 December 2022 at 10:12

Barriers related to requirements for travelers to enter African countries at has ben identified among challenges affecting tourism sector growth on the continent.

It was revealed at the Africa Tourism Business Forum meeting that took place in Kigali on Thursday, 1st December 2022. The meeting discussed the challenges that threaten this sector and how they can be addressed.

It brought together various officials including, the Ambassador of Israel in Rwanda, Ron Adams; Chief Executive Chairman of African Tourism, Cuthbert Ncube; Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs in Eswatini and Mosese Vilakati, Director General of Chamber of Tourism in Rwanda’s Private Sector, Frank Gisha Mugisha, and others.

The meeting which took place during a week dedicated to Tourism, discussed activities that can be put into action to support the pan-African market to deal with the effects of COVID-19 through the integration of public and private institutions in Rwanda, the region, and Africa.

According to Mugisha, the forum was an initiative taken to encourage businesses and actors in the hospitality and tourism to join the budding sector.

The Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs of Eswatini, Moses Vilakati said that it takes long to make exportations due to delayed licenses which might result into damages of goods and losses.

This is a concern that he shares with Mutumwinka Rwagasore Aretha,
the Managing Director of Inkomoko, a company that provides training and consultancy to entrepreneurs for their businesses to thrive.

She said that lack of information especially regarding business operations in different countries is among other challenges facing traders.

Participants of the meeting agreed that the immigration laws should be harmonized where traders or tourists would not be required to start clearances afresh every time they enter partner countries.

According to Cuthbert Ncube, African countries need to work together and expend much effort to realize anticipated growth of the tourism sector.

He says that it will be achieved through the establishment of mechanisms to ease movements between African countries.

Cuthbert commended Rwanda for making it easier for investors and tourists to get visas, stressing that visa requirements should be exempted among African countries to pave the way for tourism sector’s growth.