Kigali, Rwanda – The East Africa Tourism Platform has launched a three-month campaign dubbed “Tembea Nyumbani”, in the East African Community (EAC) Partner States.
Tembea Nyumbani, Swahili for Visit Home, is a call to the citizens of the countries in the East African Community to visit each other’s countries — in an effort to promote domestic and regional tourism business in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
According to Yves Ngenzi, the EATP Regional Coordinator, the tourism body is drawing wisdom from the popular adage that as an East African, any East African country you travel to is a home away from home.
Undertaken in partnership with stakeholders, he revealed that the campaign will promote different tourist packages within the region.
“The campaign aims to spur tourism business within the region by showcasing the many hidden gems as well as affordable and exciting holiday packages that can be explored in what the world has come to know as Africa’s magical destinations,” he said.
He further noted that an increase in interest to travel within the region will revive the tourism industry, which is a lifeline for millions of people.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the tourism sector had become one of the most lucrative, but the pandemic brought it to its knees. As uptake of vaccines increases and recovery efforts start, many nations are cooperating to revive tourism.
Pre Covid-19, tourism contributed to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of EAC Partner States by an average of 9.5% in 2019. It contributed an average of 17.2% to EAC total exports and 7.1% to employment. Research shows that EAC Partner States lost international tourism receipts to the tune of USD 4.8 billion in the year 2020.
Africa Tembelea understands that in terms of impact on employment, about 2 million tourism jobs in the region were lost.
The EAC however, has a lot to offer in terms of products and attractions, with its enormous untapped tourism and hospitality potential.
Different discounted packages for East Africans are available on the Tembea Nyumbani platform. The site features various tourist attractions, culinary experiences, tour offers and diverse travel experiences in the EAC.
According to Mr Ngenzi, the site will facilitate people to navigate and find a range of offers within the region and enable business owners to connect with customers easily.
“We are inviting all East Africans to visit the portal to start exploring beautiful East Africa,” he added.
Speaking about the launch, EATP Board Member and CEO of the Tourism Confederation of Tanzania, Mr. Richard Rugimbana noted that tourism as a sector was a crossroads.
“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,” Rugimbana said, adding that the crisis is an opportunity to think about the present and the future.
He also noted that with the hard-hitting decline in international arrivals and recovery to pre-crisis levels not expected before 2023, Tembea Nyumbani will provide the much-needed boost to help sustain our region’s many tourism destinations and businesses.
Africa Tembelea has learnt that more than 830 regional tour operators and travel agents will now be able to market and sell their packages through Tembea Nyumbani. More travel operators are also being encouraged to join the platform, at no cost, by registering through their respective country tour associations.