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COVID-19

Travel requirements In EAC countries

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Kenya

Tanzania

Burundi

Rwanda

Uganda

South Sudan

1. Suspension of visa on arrival facilities for passengers with a normal passport.
– This does not apply to:
– nationals of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda;
– foreign nationals of South Sudan origin.
2. Passengers must have a printed negative COVID-19 PCR test taken at most 96 hours before arrival. The test result must be in Arabic or English.
– This does not apply to nationals of South Sudan and foreign nationals of South Sudan origin.
3. Passengers are subject to quarantine or self-isolation for 14 days.

1. IMPACT OF COVID-19

According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) fell by 85% globally in 2020 over the same period in 2019, curbed by slow virus containment, low traveller confidence and important restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Africa saw an 80% drop in 2020.
In the EAC Community Burundi saw a 70% decline in arrivals from 300,000 arrivals in 2019 to 90,000 arrivals in 2020. Kenyan tourism sector got a 72% decline in arrivals, from 2,049,000 arrivals in 2019 to 568,000 in 2020. Rwanda arrivals dropped by 69.7% with 1,632,000 arrivals in 2019 to 473,000 in 2020. Tanzania saw 64.9% drop in arrivals, from 1,527,000 arrivals in 2019 to 537,000 in 2020. Uganda received 473,000 arrivals in 2020 from 1,543,000 arrivals in 2019 marking a 69.3% decline.

2. Effects of COVID-19 on regional Tourism business

Some of the critical issues in the private sector as observed by the EATP across the region include; reduced international tourists’ bookings and cancellations for existing bookings, low business even after reopening of tourism and airports, low capital to get back the business to normal operations, eviction from premises for some businesses due to unpaid costs, further loss of revenues, increased job losses, challenges in maintaining overheads, total business closure, increased borrowings to sustain businesses, increased marketing activities and thus increased costs of running the businesses.

These are critical challenges across the region that the EATP members face that need to be addressed in collaboration with different stakeholders.

3. STATUS OF REGIONAL TOURISM

Africa’s return to recovery after a tough year is predicted to start in 2021. However, the EAC hotel occupancies were at shallow levels in 2020 at around 20%. There is still a very fragmented recovery for each destination in the region in the first quarter of 2021. According to STR Data, regional hotel occupancy, January 2021 to March 2021 were still between 20-30%, while Africa’s occupancy is at an average of 33%. These data show that the pandemic is far from over, and ring-fencing crucial export sectors from lockdown measures are still necessary.
A lack of harmonized strategy, standards and protocols is still affecting regional tourism. Although most EAC countries have the necessary COVID-19 prevention plans and travel health guidelines, they vary from country to country. As a result, they are a deterrent for encouraging the resumption of regional travel and boosting travelers’ confidence.
With the COVIID-19 vaccine rollout in the region, we’ve noticed the tourism industry players prioritized in member countries, giving hope for the sector’s quick rebound.