From Left: Ms. Agnes Mucuha, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Association of Travel Agents, His Excellency Amb Richard Masozera, Rwanda’s Ambassador to Kenya (representing RDB and RCOT), Fred Odek, the EATP Chairman, and Robert Okumu, RwandAir Country Manager Kenya pose for a photo after the partnership signing.
NAIROBI, Kenya, January 19, 2021
The Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) in partnership with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Rwanda Chamber of Tourism (RCOT) with the facilitation of East African Tourism Platform (EATP) today signed a partnership that will see the development of business and leisure travel in the EAC Region through enhanced cooperation between the above parties to promote the competitiveness of the region as a Tourism Destination.
As part of the programme, the partners will collaborate on addressing challenges faced by the EAC region travel industry. Through the partnership, a range of solutions and initiatives will be explored to help the sector transform their businesses, pivot to new audiences, and boost regional travel. The partnership will see RDB, RCOT and KATA cooperate in the implementation of Rwanda’s and KATA’s marketing and promotional programmes by conducting joint-marketing activities that will drive visitors to Rwanda’s and Kenya’s attractions and experiences; familiarization trips and educational webinars, aimed at promoting regional travel and thereby creating increased opportunities for private sector actors in the travel industry.
The parties agreed to cooperate in the various fields and activities of common interests, particularly; 1) to provide opportunities for exchanging knowledge, expertise, and best practices about travel, 2) promote the exchange of familiarization visits between Kenya and Rwanda, 3) encourage tourists flows between Kenya and Rwanda, 4) share the countries respective calendar of events for stakeholders information and attendance, and 5) engage other similar counterparts from various African regional blocks in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area spirit.
The partnership was signed in the presence of Ms. Agnes Mucuha, the Chief Executive Officer for KATA, Fred Odek, the EATP Chairman, Amb Richard Masozera, Rwanda’s Ambassador to Kenya (representing RDB and RCOT) and Robert Okumu, RwandAir Country Manager Kenya.
Travel and Tourism is a vital aspect of Kenya-Rwanda bilateral cooperation. Kenya is already one of the most popular destinations in Africa for Rwandese visitors and continues to attract more visitors every year. Equally, Kenyans have been increasingly choosing Rwanda as their regional destination of choice with the City of Kigali and other in-country destinations on a list of places to visit by Kenyans.
Robert Okumu, RwandAir’s Country Manager for Kenya, while pledging his support for the partnership said, “RwandAir (WB) will be the Title Sponsor for the Air Tickets during the familiarization trips to Rwanda facilitating the much-needed product knowledge and experience,” adding that RwandAir has also released special discounted air fares and holiday packages for the Kenyan public to visit and explore the land of a thousand hills.
Mr Okumu said this while noting that an average of 1,000 passengers travels from Nairobi to Kigali monthly for business and leisure reasons.
“Rwanda and Kenya are adored by local and foreign visitors alike, and this increased cooperation between the two countries will see an uptick in the numbers of travellers interested in visiting both countries. Today’s strategic partnership lays strong foundations to tap the potential of Kenya and Rwanda as a promising traveller destination for the regional and international market,” said Aimable Rutagarama, Chairman for Rwanda Chamber of Tourism.
“We are very excited about this cooperation and look forward to working more closely across the board with all the players in the travel and tourism industry. Kenya and Rwanda are already one of the most popular destinations for the growing regional tourism market,” Said Hon Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board.
“The signing of these agreements between RDB, RCOT, KATA and EATP represents a visible result of the thriving Kenya-Rwanda relationship. The partnership is also in line with our efforts to transform and build new travel and tourism industry capabilities. As we chart a new path forward for the travel sector, it is crucial to focus on growing local travel for us to help the industry to rebound,” said Amb Richard Masozera.
“We are honoured to partner with Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda Chamber of Tourism, and the East Africa Tourism Platform as this collaboration will allow for greater sharing of ideas, resources, and expertise. This partnership places Rwanda and KATA on the path to becoming a regional and continental lead in creating safe travel experiences, yet meet the needs of travellers,” said Agnes Mucuha, Chief Executive, Kenya Association of Travel Agents.
“This partnership will shape the course of regional tourism. If there is ever a period for the region to come together to grow its tourism and the associated economic gains for its industry players, now is without a doubt the right time,” said Fred Odek.
About Rwanda Development Board
Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is a government institution whose mandate is to accelerate Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. The Rwanda Development Board is under the supervision of the Office of the President and is governed by a Board of Directors made up of global entrepreneurs and experts.
RDB was established in 2008 out of a merger of 8 Government institutions, primarily to create a One Stop Shop for business and investments. RDB has been built with global expertise and modelled on international best practice. Currently, RDB’s key services are; Investment Promotion, Export & SEZ Development, Investment Deals Negotiation, Tourism and Conservation, Skills Development and One Stop Center services (business and investment registration, visa facilitation, EIA, tax incentives management, etc.) RDB is here to provide support throughout the entire investment journey and to ensure that Rwanda remains one of the best places to do business in Africa and the World.
About Kenya Association of Travel Agents
The Kenya Association of Travel Agents is the national umbrella body for Travel Agents in Kenya, with a growing membership of over 200 Travel Agencies. It is Kenya’s largest and only membership organization for travel agents. KATA transitioned from a society to a company limited by guarantee in September 2018, providing more space for growth and defending the travel trade. KATA is a member of the Universal Federation of Travel Agents’ Association (UFTAA) which represents 84 countries. It also hosts the Secretariat of the Association of Eastern and Southern African Travel Agents (AESATA).
About Rwanda Chamber of Tourism
Rwanda Chamber of Tourism is the apex body for all private sector tourism establishments in Rwanda. It is one of the 10 professional chambers that currently exist under the umbrella of the Private Sector Federation (PSF). It was established in 2006 with the mandate of enhancing business opportunities through effective lobbying and advocacy for tourism and hospitality in Rwanda. It consists of Rwanda Safari Guides Association (RSGA), Rwanda Hospitality Association (RHA), Rwanda Tour and Travel agencies (RTTA), Rwanda Association of Tour Agencies (RATA), and Rwanda Tourism and Hospitality Educators Association (RTHEA).
About East African Tourism Platform
The East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP) is the private sector body for tourism in East Africa, working towards promoting the interest and participation of the private sector in the East African Community (EAC) integration process. EATP is the first regional tourism apex body put into place, able to lobby at the EAC level and at the level of national governments. The vision of creating and promote a vibrant and diverse single tourism destination is the driving force. EATP promotes intra and inter-regional tourism though advocacy, marketing, skills development, research and information sharing.
From its hub in the hut of Africa at Kigali International Airport, RwandAir is reputed for its excellent on-time performance, customer service and safety, and has one of the youngest fleets on the African Continent. An IATA member airline, RwandAir is IOSA, IASGO and EASA certified. With a fleet of twelve aircraft including two wide-body Airbus A330’s, the airline currently reaches 29 destinations across East, Central, West and Southern Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia. In addition to the hub in Kigali, RwandAir has a second hub in Cotonou, from which it serves Dakar, Abidjan, Libreville, and Douala. In mid-2019, RwandAir started operations to Kinshasa, Guangzhou and Tel Aviv. Bangui, Central Africa republic has been added to the RwandAir network from 1st February 2021.
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