All set for the 1st EAC Regional Tourism Expo
East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 7th October, 2021: Tourism players are upbeat of the sector’s recovery in the region, with the upcoming 1st EAC Regional Tourism EXPO already attracting over 2,000 visitors from across the globe and 100 exhibitors confirming their participation at the TGT grounds in Arusha, Tanzania.
The expo set for 9th to 11th October 2021, aims at creating awareness on tourism investment opportunities amid the pandemic and promote EAC as a single tourism destination. Currently, EAC Partner States’ Ministers of Tourism and Government officials from Botswana, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo have confirmed their participation.
Addressing the media in Arusha ahead of the EXPO, the EAC Secretary General, Hon. (Dr).Peter Mathuki said that the EXPO would comprise exhibitions by the tourism service providers, speed networking and B2B meetings and seminars on tourism and wildlife sub-themes.
“In respect to the tourism sector, these sub-themes will revolve around aspects such as tourism resilience and crisis management, digital tourism marketing, development of multi-destination tourism packages and tourism investment opportunities and incentives. On the other hand, wildlife-related sub-themes will include Combating Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade and economic value of wildlife in the region,” said Hon. Mathuki.
Dr. Mathuki said that the EXPO would go a long way in reviving the EAC tourism following the unprecedented decline caused by COVID-19. It also bolsters intra-regional tourism in addition to international tourism through promotion of the tourism product offerings for the EAC Citizens.
“I take this opportunity to welcome the people of East Africans and beyond to participate at this inaugural Regional Tourism Expo, EARTE 2021 as a Delegate, Exhibitor or Seminar participants”
Speaking on the impacts of Covid-19 in the region, the Secretary General said that tourism sector is one of the most important areas of cooperation for EAC owing to its contribution to the economies of our Partner States in terms of GDP (about 10%), export earnings (17%) and jobs (about 7%).
“Its multiplier effect and linkages with other sectors that are instrumental in our integration such as agriculture, transport and manufacturing are quite immense, said Secretary General,” he said.
He disclosed that according data availed by the Partner States, tourism arrivals in the region were estimated to have dropped by about 67.7% in 2020 compared to 2019. In absolute terms, EAC received about 2.25 million international tourists in 2020 compared to about 6.98 million in 2019.
“The pandemic has negatively affected all benefits of tourism including massive job losses in the sector, loss of tourism revenue, and undermining of wildlife conservation efforts,” added Hon. Mathuki.
The Secretary General revealed that in four EAC Partner States, namely Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, visitors to national parks and reserves reduced by an average of 64.6% in 2020 compared to 2019.
“The Republics of Uganda and Rwanda experienced the largest dips in visitors to parks at 68.7% and 67.5% respectively. On the other hand, United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya recorded 61.8% and 60.3% respectively,” he said.
Speaking on the impact of Covid-19 on trade in the region, Dr. Mathuki said that studies done by East African Business Council (EABC) revealed that most businesses in the region lost between 75%- 90% of their revenues due to closures or massive scaling down of their operations as they adjusted to prescribed governments’ regulations for combating the pandemic.
“Consequently, this led to massive staff layoffs, with much business reducing staff to up to 50% of their usual establishment and some maintaining them on 50%pay.”
“Let me take this opportunity to call upon the media in the region as our partners to help us sending message to the world and tell them that the region is ready to receive them and let them use this window of opportunity to book their Christmas and Easter holidays in a destination of choice within the region,” said Dr. Mathuki.
The EXPO, under the theme, ‘Promotion of Resilient Tourism for Inclusive Socio-economic Development’ will also be attended by national tourism boards, private sector and tourism industry players, representatives from other Regional Economics Communities (SADC, IGAD, COMESA), African Union, UN World Tourism Organisations, Development Partners and members of the Diplomatic Community in Tanzania.
For more information, please contact:
Simon Peter Owaka
Senior Public Relations Officer
Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
Tel: +255 768 552087
Email: sowaka [at] eachq.org
About the East African Community Secretariat:
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001: 2015 Certified