East Africa slashes Visa fees
KAMPALA, AUGUST 1 – Just a year after they hiked charges for entry visas, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda are beating hasty retreat, slashing the cost of entry visas by 50pc. Following close on the heels of Uganda, Rwanda became the second EAC member country to reduce the cost of a single entry visa to $50 in the past one week.
Starting August 1, a tourist visa to Rwanda will now cost 35 UK Pounds, 45 Euros or 50 US Dollars respectively while transit visas will cost 20 UK Pounds, 27 Euros or 30 US Dollars. The common East African Tourist Visa giving access to Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya however, remains at US Dollars 100 per person.
The climb down was initiated by Kenya last year as authorities tried to shore up a tourism industry battered by a series of terrorism incidents. Though Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda have been more secure, the fact that Kenya is the region’s main business and tourism hub left local tourism lobbies agitating for reciprocal moves.
All three countries are also looking to tourism as they battle sluggish growth amidst a and an uncertain external sectorAfter Uganda has more recently reduced the Visa fee from 100 US Dollars to 50 US Dollars, are the core countries of the East African community, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania now all at the same level of 50 US Dollars for a tourist Visa.
The reductions, though welcome by the tourism industry are bound to leave a bitter aftertaste for Ugandans however who continue to be exposed to high costs of obtaining visas to most countries. With the exception of China which has maintained its visa fee at Ushs 130,000 for a single entry, the cost of a visa to South Africa more than doubled from $53 to $116 after a private contractor was hired to process the visas for Ugandans.