The 2021 edition of World Tourism Day, with the theme of “Tourism for Inclusive Growth”, celebrates tourism’s ability to drive inclusive development and its role in promoting respect while generating opportunities for many millions across the globe.
- This year marks the 41st World Tourism Day; it is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of tourism in the East Africa region and its economic value.
- The significance of travel and tourism to the EAC partner states economies cannot be overemphasized. Tourism is one of the most relevant sectors globally as it employs millions of people, which makes them dependent on it for their livelihood. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Tourism in East Africa contributed an average of 8.1% to GDP and 17.2% to export earnings and generated 7.1% of employment. As regards employment, tourism employed about 1,278,000 direct and 1,981,000 indirect jobs in the partner states.
• The East African region as a tourism destination is well renowned, mainly due to its unique attractions. It has some of Africa’s most evocative safari destinations and the world’s last remaining Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda. From Wildebeest over the savannah in the Serengeti Massai Mara ecosystem, rhinos stand in the shade in Ngorongoro crater and Chimpanzees in Western Tanzania’s Gombe Stream and Mahale Mountains parks, to mention a few.
- Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Fred Odek, the East African Tourism Platform Chairman, said, ” We celebrate the hope that tomorrow will be a better day for all our business and the world. We all recognize that the tourism industry contributes significantly to job creation and has been growing steadily in the region. However, the impact of COVID-19 on the sector were severe. Nonetheless, this sector is, without doubt, one of the most critical industries that have the potential to get our region back on to a healthy growth path.” He added that the platform is working closely with key stakeholders in the industry towards recovery from the effects of COVID-19.
- The celebration also comes at an unprecedented time with the COVID-19 pandemic. The EAC partner states lost an estimated 2 million tourism jobs in the region, given the long-term closure of seaports and airports, with about 7.4 Million international tourists not travelling to their preferred EAC destinations this year.
- The EATP encourages regional, continental and international tourists to visit East Africa as it is a safe destination. Recently, the platform re-introduced the www.visiteastafrica.net and Tembea Nyumbani (https://tembeanyumbani.visiteastafrica.net/ ) portals, where tourists can plan and book tour packages and offers from service providers in the region. This is an addition to the great achievements of the East Africa Tourism Platform and its commitment to continue providing value to its members.
Notes to Editor:
The East Africa Tourism Platform is the apex private sector body for Tourism in East Africa. The EATP Mission promotes intra and inter-regional tourism through advocacy, marketing, skills development, research and information sharing. The East Africa Tourism Platform was established in 2011 and is supported by Trademark East Africa. Under the leadership of key tourism leaders in the region, the platform motivates and defines private sector participation in the emerging EAC policies and behaviour. It makes the private voice heard and relevant in the regional integration process, pursuing a common agenda as a
EATP Secretariat is in Kigali and is hosted by the Rwanda Chamber of Tourism. The Rwanda Chamber of Tourism is the private sector pillar of the Rwanda Private Sector Federation, which is dedicated to promoting and representing the interests of the Rwandan business community.