The Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA), Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Rwanda Chamber of Tourism (RCT) and the East African Tourism Platform (EATP) have signed a partnership that will see the development of business and leisure travel in the East African Community.
The framework will enhance cooperation between the above parties and improve the region’s competitiveness as a tourism destination.
As part of the agreement, the partners will collaborate on addressing challenges faced in the region’s travel industry and explore a range of solutions and initiatives that can help transform businesses in the sector, market the region’s tourism offerings to new audiences and promote regional travel.
The partnership will see RDB, RCT and KATA cooperate to implement Rwanda’s and Kenya’s tourism marketing and promotional programmes by conducting joint-marketing activities that will drive visitors to the countries’ attractions and experiences.
The bodies will also organise familiarization trips and educational webinars to promote regional travel, thereby creating increased opportunities for private sector actors in the travel industry.
Other activities agreed upon in the agreement include;
- To provide opportunities for exchanging knowledge, expertise and best practices on travel
- To promote the exchange of familiarisation visits between Kenya and Rwanda
- To encourage tourists flows between Kenya and Rwanda
- To share the countries’ respective calendar of events for stakeholders information and attendance
- To engage other African regional blocks through the new Africa Continental Free Trade Area which was launched on 1 January, 2021
The partnership was announced in the presence of Amb. Richard Masozera Rwanda’s Ambassador to Kenya, Ms. Agnes Mucuha, the Chief Executive Officer for KATA, Fred Odek, the EATP Chairman and Robert Okumu the RwandAir Country Manager, Kenya.
Commenting on the partnership, Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board said:
“We are very excited about this cooperation and look forward to working more closely across the board with all the players in the travel and tourism industry as we look to increase tourism revenues and create more jobs within the sector. Kenya and Rwanda are already one of the most popular destinations for the growing regional tourism market and we look forward to having more people visit and taste the unique offerings in these destinations.”
Aimable Rutagarama, Chaiman of the Rwanda Chamber of Tourism said:
“Rwanda and Kenya are adored by local and foreign visitors alike and this increased cooperation between the two countries will see an uptick in the number of travellers interested in visiting both countries. Today’s strategic partnership lays strong foundations to tap the potential of Kenya and Rwanda as a promising traveller destination for the regional and international market.”
Agnes Mucuha, Chief Executive, Kenya Association of Travel Agents said:
“We are honoured to partner with the Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda Chamber of Tourism, and the East Africa Tourism Platform as this collaboration will allow for greater sharing of ideas, resources, and expertise. This partnership places Rwanda and KATA on the path to becoming a regional and continental lead in creating safe travel experiences, yet meet the needs of travellers.”
Fred Odek, Chairperson of the East Africa Tourism Platform said:
“This partnership will shape the course of regional tourism. This is the best time for the region to come together to grow its tourism and the associated economic gains for its industry players.”
Robert Okumu, RwandAir’s Country Manager for Kenya said:
“RwandAir (WB) will be the Title Sponsor for the Air Tickets during the familiarization trips to Rwanda facilitating the much-needed product knowledge and experience.”
He added that RwandAir has also released special discounted airfares and holiday packages for the Kenyan public to visit and explore the land of a thousand hills.
Mr Okumu said this while noting that an average of 1,000 passengers travels from Nairobi to Kigali monthly for business and leisure.
In closing, Amb. Richard Masozera noted:
“The signing of these agreements between RDB, RCT, KATA and EATP represents a visible result of the thriving Kenya-Rwanda relationship. The partnership is also in line with our efforts to transform and build new travel and tourism industry capabilities. As we chart a new path forward for the travel sector, it is crucial to focus on growing local travel for us to help the industry to rebound.”
Tourism is a vital aspect of Kenya-Rwanda bilateral cooperation. Kenya is one of the most popular destinations in Africa for Rwandan visitors and continues to attract more visitors every year. Equally, Kenyans have been increasingly choosing Rwanda as their regional destination of choice with the City of Kigali and other in-country destinations on a list of places to visit by Kenyans.
About Rwanda Development Board
The Rwanda Development Board is a government agency responsible for leading the country’s transformation to a dynamic global hub for business, investment, tourism and innovation. Its mission is to fast track economic development in Rwanda by enabling private sector growth. For more information visit www.rdb.rw.
About Kenya Association of Travel Agents
The Kenya Association of Travel Agents is the national umbrella body for Travel Agents in Kenya, with a growing membership of over 200 Travel Agencies. It is Kenya’s largest and only membership organization for travel agents. KATA transitioned from a society to a company limited by guarantee in September 2018, providing more space for growth and defending the travel trade. KATA is a member of the Universal Federation of Travel Agents’ Association (UFTAA) which represents 84 countries. It also hosts the Secretariat of the Association of Eastern and Southern African Travel Agents (AESATA).
About Rwanda Chamber of Tourism
Rwanda Chamber of Tourism is the apex body for all private sector tourism establishments in Rwanda. It is one of the 10 professional chambers that currently exist under the umbrella of the Private Sector Federation (PSF). It was established in 2006 with the mandate of enhancing business opportunities through effective lobbying and advocacy for tourism and hospitality in Rwanda. It consists of Rwanda Safari Guides Association (RSGA), Rwanda Hospitality Association (RHA), Rwanda Tour and Travel agencies (RTTA), Rwanda Association of Tour Agencies (RATA), and Rwanda Tourism and Hospitality Educators Association (RTHEA).
About East African Tourism Platform
The East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP) is the private sector body for tourism in East Africa, promoting the interest and participation of the private sector in the East African Community (EAC) integration process. EATP is the first regional tourism apex body put into place, able to lobby at the EAC level and at the level of national governments. The vision of creating and promote a vibrant and diverse single tourism destination is the driving force. EATP promotes intra and inter-regional tourism through advocacy, marketing, skills development, research and information sharing.
From its hub in the hut of Africa at Kigali International Airport, RwandAir is reputed for its excellent on-time performance, customer service and safety, and has one of the youngest fleets on the African Continent. An IATA member airline, RwandAir is IOSA, IASGO and EASA certified. With a fleet of twelve aircraft including two wide-body Airbus A330’s, the airline currently reaches 29 destinations across East, Central, West and Southern Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia. In addition to the hub in Kigali, RwandAir has a second hub in Cotonou, from which it serves Dakar, Abidjan, Libreville, and Douala. In mid-2019, RwandAir started operations to Kinshasa, Guangzhou and Tel Aviv. Bangui, Central Africa republic has been added to the RwandAir network from 1st February 2021.