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Airlines want a single East African Community entry Visa

Wednesday June 22, 2011

Airline representatives want a single destination visa for tourists visiting the East African region, its chairman, suggested last week.

Pierre Declerck, the head of the airlines representatives association, argued that the move would boost tourism in the region.

He explained that lack of a single visa was hurting tourists’ movement within the region because they are required to pay an additional fee of $50 per person to cross from one country to another.

Declerck appealed to the East African Legislative Assembly to speed up enactment of a single destination visa to simplify tourists’ movement within the region.

He cited cases where tourists intend to combine their safari in Uganda with Virunga Gorilla tracking in the DR Congo, but were restricted at the border due to the entry fee.

“The charges have affected their movement since the majority of them move with families,” Declerch pointed out.

“Restricting tourists from accessing tourism sites within the region and subjecting them to filling forms that they have filled in other countries is unfair.

“Tourists may not come back to the country due to the inconveniences they experienced,” Declerck disclosed.

He observed that enacting a particular travel document would make a lot of marketing sense by creating a new dynamism in the region.

“It will also help the five countries to market themselves as one destination,” Declerck noted.

He explained that allowing people free movement will boost the sector, a big driver in job-creation.

Declerck also appealed to the Government to stabilise tax on air tickets.

“There are situations where taxes are 40% higher than the cost of the air ticket.

“On several occasions, the exorbitant charges have scared passengers from travelling thus affecting the sector,” he said.

He said to boost the aviation industry, the Government should consult the airline association before deciding on air ticket tax increases.

By Petride Mudoola : The New Vision Newspaper

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