(eTN) – In spite of misgivings in one or the other of the East African Community member states over the introduction of marketing the region as a single tourism destination, yesterday in Kigali the EALA insisted that it is the right way forward. A report tabled by a committee of EALA, after touring the member states and interacting with the respective tourism sector stakeholders, in fact reiterated that cooperation and added integration to sell the region as a single destination abroad would benefit the national economies beyond what individual efforts could achieve.
Continuing squabbles over the introduction of a single tourist visa for the region were cited as a major setback for such plans, however, as was the fact that not all member states had yet ratified the regional tourism protocol, this gave them something to hide behind, as one source from Kigali put it, where EALA is currently meeting.
The aviation sector, among others, continues to be advocate for full regional integration and the scrapping of repetitive and multiple licensing for air operations in the region, and to finally accept that airlines licensed under CASSOA’s regulatory regime in one of the member states should be allowed to fly anywhere in the region without hindrance of being treated as a foreign airline or having to wait for flight clearances for, at times, several days. One regular aviation source called this a “punitive measure by a certain regulatory body against airlines from other member states.”