The East Africa region does not seem to be the best tourist destination despite the fact that countries like Uganda were named as the must visit place for this year 2012 by global companies like the lonely planet. Up until now, East Africa does not compete favorably as a tourist destination basing on the report produced by the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) which is now encouraging the governments in these different countries to carry out an appraisal in their tourism industry.
This is an annual report prepared by NESC together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Sub Regional Office-East Africa (UNECA SRO-EA) and according to the report, the governments have got to motivate and ensure an increase in the number of the private investment by using the specific tourism related fiscal, financial and any other motivators. This was said by Peter Kenneth the assistant Minister of Planning during his speech at the opening of the new report they called the A Study on the Challenges and Opportunities for Tourism Development. He mentioned that Kenya is still lagging behind compared to the rest of the East African countries as far as the growth of their GDP is concerned.
The report indicates an average regional growth of 6.6% in 2011 and 6.8% in 2012 and that means that if Kenya worked hard and improved by 5.5 percent for 2012, the region would still be below the average. Currently Kenya is in the 97th position in the whole world in the 2009 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness World Economic Forum despite the far that it did so well as a human, cultural and natural resources but then business environment and infrastructure performed so poorly. However, despite all the problems Kenya may be facing today, it will be the first country in East Africa to reach middle income status by the year 2030 although half of the countries in the region will have reached the status that is according to the report.
However, to attain this goal, all nations within the East African region have got to come together and come up with an Eastern Africa Tourism Master Plan but its success will entirely depend on the goodwill of the member countries. The master plan will indicate the development programs for all the countries and also show the tourism sector’s vision which should be drawn after consulting the stakeholder who should know the key issues and priorities to consider to achieve tourism development in East Africa. They should also consider giving to the international visitors a single visa so that they can freely move from one country to another something that will greatly benefit the new destinations in East Africa by influencing the markets of the most famous attraction centers in the region and hence lead to development of the tourism sector in East Africa.
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