EAC Member States Launch Joint Campaign To Promote Regional Tourism

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Written by See Africa Today

A fresh tourism campaign dubbed Twende Nyumbani is now running across the six East African Community (EAC) member states.

‘Twende Nyumbani’ is Swahili for Visit Home. The campaign launched by the East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP) will run for the next three months. Its aim is to bolster tourism in the region.

Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan make up the EAC bloc.

Twende Nyumbani Campaign

The campaign intends to promote partner states’ tourism in the next three months. It is a part of a larger effort to promote regional and domestic tourism in the region.

East Africa Tourism Platform holds the belief that anywhere in East African is home away from home. It is against this backdrop that the campaign is pegged on to increase tour and travel between EAC states.

Tourism is a leading foreign exchange-earners in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda.

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Giraffe Centre A Great Place To Visit With Kids [Photo by Giraffe Centre Day Tour In Nairobi]

Job Losses In 2020

Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a huge blow to the sector leaving it in an abyss. Travel restrictions and a surge in COVID-19 cases saw a drastic drop in the number of international tourists visiting.

In 2019, EAC tourism raked in 9.5% of the region’s GDP.  An estimated 17.2% of all EAC exports were from tourism while there was a 7.1% employment rate.

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, EAC cumulatively lost $4.8 billion. Further two million jobs were lost within the year.

‘Tembea Nyumbani is, therefore, a collection approach by the EAC bloc to cushion the sector from further losses.

The campaign is in execution by stakeholders from the six-member states. Each state will promote a unique tourism package – each of them has something unique to offer.

Key areas of focus include bolstering tourism entities – hotels and travel companies.

Part of the campaign includes affordable holiday packages and variety to encourage East Africans to travel more.

Under the three-month campaign work, Africa’s magical destinations feature prominently. They are likely to spur interest for people to travel to East Africa.

Discounts And Packages

On the Tembea Nyumbani portal, there are discounted packages for those seeking to take up the opportunity to travel now.

The campaign portal lists down a wide range of the most inspiring places to visit in a particular country. It also focuses on the connection between industry players and customers.

Besides magical wild tours that East Africa is known for, Tembea Nyumbani has so much more to offer. Part of the discounted packages includes those for sightseeing different attractions and different culinary experiences.

Culture plays a cardinal role in the blocks tourism due to tribal diversity that comes with different culinary experiences. For food lovers, this is an opportune time to learn a few things about East Africa’s culinary delight.

East African Tourism Platform

EATP Board Member and Tourism Confederation of Tanzania CEO Richard Rugimbana hailed the campaign launch.

He said this is a great opportunity to revive the sector that is still struggling.

“The coronavirus has heavily hit it, but this pandemic also brought us opportunities to explore new markets, open up new destinations, encourage innovation as well as think new and sustainable tourism development models,” he told the East African.

He noted that before travel rebounds fully in 2023, Tembea Nyumbani will bridge the gap and offer a boost to regional tourism.

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Zebras herd on savanna at sunset, Africa. Safari in Serengeti, Tanzania [Lonely Planet]

Business Recovery Strategy

Rugimbana projects this as a short to the medium-term business recovery strategy.

At least 830 tour and travel operators in EAC are part of the campaign. They have an opportunity to sell their services by joining the platform for free.

TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) Director of Business Competitiveness Anataria Karimba said this is the right move.

Karimba said international tourists’ arrivals are still far off due to COVID-19 restrictions in place leaving regional tourism as the Holy Grail.

“One of the vital lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic is that domestic and regional tourism markets are very important. In such situations, they can help make the tourism sector resilient. We need to focus more effort on developing many creative and innovative packages for domestic and regional tourism. Tembea Nyumbani is long overdue.”

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About the author

See Africa Today

Pharis Kinyua is the editor of See Africa Today. With over seven years of experience in digital media, he has a soft spot for African tours and travel. His drive is to tell the rest of the world what Africa offers, the best accommodation facilities, national parks, culture, shopping malls and best airline deals to travel to Africa

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