Roundup: East African countries working to integrate tourism destinations

  • World
  • Wednesday, 27 Sep 2023

ADDIS ABABA, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- East African countries are integrating their tourism destinations to offer better experiences to tourists visiting attractions along the East African corridor, some officials from the East African countries have said.

The remark comes during the Oromia Tourism Week 2023 that began Sunday in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, with various activities including panel discussions, exhibitions, and beauty contests.

Speaking about the significance of establishing a regional tourism platform, Sarah Kirenga, a representative of the Rwandan Chamber of Tourism, said the integration would help offer a variety of destinations to tourists visiting the corridor.

"It is very important for us in the tourism sector to be able to sell a product that connects with each other. We would be able to sell our tourists a destination that is giving variety," Kirenga said.

She said Oromia Tourism Week serves as a platform to create a network in the tourism ecosystem, promote a variety of tourism products, and boost regional tourism.

"With the integration, it will be easy to sell a tourism package that is complete and very attractive," said Kirenga, noting that a tourist who happens to visit Rwanda may at least experience gorilla trekking.

Emphasizing the need to focus on regional tourism rather than individual destinations along the East African bloc, Anthony Ochieng, market development representative of the Ugandan Tourism Board, said the countries along the East African region are teaming up to boost intra-travel and implement the East African tourism marketing plan.

"Under the East African tourism marketing plan, we are able to market East Africa as a region, not focusing on individual destinations but the East African (destinations)," Ochieng told Xinhua at the Oromia Tourism Week.

East Africa is well known for its natural and cultural tourist attraction sites, many of which are inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List in recognition of their unique natural qualities.

The region is also home to popular safari destinations with a wealth of fascinating historical and archaeological sites that have been accorded global prominence.

Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have already started to sell their tourist destinations as a region, said Ochieng, adding that tourists would experience a variety of attractions in Uganda including "The Big Five," namely lion, leopard, cape buffalo, rhinoceros and African elephant.

The Oromia Tourism Week is an annual event that aims to highlight the unique tourism offerings and experiences available in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.

This year's tourism week event, which began Sunday and runs until Tuesday, brings together tourism stakeholders, government representatives, industry professionals, and visitors from around the world to explore and appreciate the region's vast potential as a top tourism destination.

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