The East African Community (EAC) regional block said they have never reached a consensus on the issuance of the single tourist visa by Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
“There has never been any agreement on the arrangement at the EAC level, as a matter of fact, the member states are still discussing the issue,” Acting Director for Trade and Investment in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Bernard Haule, said.
Haule was responding to allegations by some media outlets and social networks, suggestions that Tanzania had snubbed the multi-entry visa for tourists outside the regional bloc.
We have come across many cases of officials asking tourists who have obtained the single entry visa from Uganda to pay entry fees in Rwanda or Kenya.
The official said the introduction of the arrangement for all EAC members states was still under discussion through sectoral meetings on tourism and wildlife, adding Tanzania was fully participating in the deliberations.
A senior tourism development officer from Uganda, Anne Awori, was recently quoted at a forum in Kigali, Rwanda, complaining that some of the countries implementing the agreement were forcing tourists with the documents to pay extra upon entering their countries.
“We have come across many cases of officials asking tourists who have obtained the single entry visa from Uganda to pay entry fees in Rwanda or Kenya,” said Awori, adding, “A recent case is when Rwanda charged a 13-year-old tourist an extra 60 US dollars despite having the regional visa from Uganda.” she said.
However, Uganda had earlier blamed Kenya and Rwanda for breaching the visa agreement by issuing their own local visa to tourists instead of the single EAC tourist visa.
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The idea was to allow tourists move freely within Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda without applying or paying for another visa.
Haule at a news conference in Dar es Salaam explained that the idea came on way back in November, 2008, during an EAC Council of Ministers for tourism and wildlife, with a taskforce formed to look into the matter.