The Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) in partnership with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Rwanda Chamber of Tourism (RCT) inked a deal that will see them promote travel for business and leisure between Kenya and Rwanda.
The partnership, signed in Nairobi earlier this week, and is being facilitated by the East African Tourism Platform (EATP) is expected to enhance cooperation between the above parties to promote the competitiveness of the East African Community (EAC) region as a Tourism Destination.
As part of the programme, the organisations will collaborate on addressing challenges faced by the EAC region travel industry. Through the partnership, a range of solutions and initiatives will be explored to help the sector transform their businesses, pivot to new audiences, and boost regional travel.
The partnership will see RDB, RCT and KATA cooperate in the implementation of Rwanda’s and KATA’s marketing and promotional programmes by conducting joint-marketing activities that will drive visitors to Rwanda’s and Kenya’s attractions and experiences; familiarization trips and educational webinars, aimed at promoting regional travel and thereby creating increased opportunities for private sector actors in the travel industry.
The parties agreed to cooperate in the various fields and activities of common interests, particularly; 1) to provide opportunities for exchanging knowledge, expertise, and best practices about travel, 2) promote the exchange of familiarization visits between Kenya and Rwanda, 3) encourage tourists flows between Kenya and Rwanda, 4) share the countries respective calendar of events for stakeholders information and attendance, and 5) engage other similar counterparts from various African regional blocks in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area spirit.
The partnership was announced by His Excellency Amb Richard Masozera, Rwanda’s Ambassador to Kenya. Present at the announcing ceremony was Ms. Agnes Mucuha, the Chief Executive Officer for KATA, Fred Odek, the EATP Chairman, and Robert Okumu, RwandAir Kenya Country Manager.
Travel and Tourism is a vital aspect of Kenya-Rwanda bilateral cooperation. Kenya is already one of the most popular destinations in Africa for Rwandese 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.
Robert Okumu, RwandAir’s Country Manager for Kenya, while pledging his support for the partnership 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,” adding that RwandAir has also released special discounted air fares 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 travel from Nairobi to Kigali every month for business and leisure reasons.
Aimable Rutagarama, Chairman for Rwanda Chamber of Tourism while commenting on the partnership said that, 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 numbers 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 travellers,” he added.
Hon Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board also expressed her profound optimism about the partnership. “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. Kenya and Rwanda are already one of the most popular destinations for the growing regional tourism market,” she said.
Amb Masozera congratulated the organisations for finding ways to create partnerships that not only benefit the tourism and travel sector but also bolster diplomatic ties between the two countries.
“The signing of this agreement between RDB, RCOT, 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,” he said.
Agnes Mucuha the Chief Executive of KATA said the collaboration will allow greater sharing of ideas, resources, and expertise. “This partnership places Rwanda and Kenya Association of Travel Agents on the path to becoming a regional and continental lead in creating safe travel experiences, yet meet the needs of travellers.”
“This partnership will shape the course of regional tourism. If there is ever a period for the region to come together to grow its tourism and the associated economic gains for its industry players, now is without a doubt the right time,” said Fred Odek.