Against this backdrop, the Africa Travel Association (ATA) is currently holding a week-long convention in Uganda’s capital, Kampala attracting key industry players to discuss promoting travel and tourism to Africans and strengthening intra-Africa partnerships. The 2014 program is expected to present a line-up of educational and professional development seminars for tourism leaders and professionals specialising in Africa.
Offering a networking and learning platform for players in the tourism industry the event will address challenges facing the tourism sector in the continent. Over 300 regional and foreign delegates are expected to attend the congress as it is officially been opened by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
“As an association we believe it takes collaboration between the public and the private sector and through the government [to boost the tourism sector]. This year we are really excited, we have a session on tourism facilitation that will see many issues discussed,” Andrea Papitto, Trade Relations and Communications Manager at Africa Travel Association told CNBC Africa.
“We hope that countries will work together for promotions to ease visa restrictions. We are really excited about the East Africa tourist visa between Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania to have a universal visa,” Papitto said.
In February, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda launched a cross-border travel permit to ease free movement of tourists and citizens alike with Tanzania joining the pack early this month. The East Africa Tourist Visa allows travel between member country states with the same multiple entry visa. This visa is the result of a joint initiative made by the heads of states of the respective partner countries to boost regional travel and create opportunities for tourists to explore the diversity of East Africa.