Saturday, February 13, 2010

Joint Tourism Bill passed by East African Parliament

By Geoffrey Baluku
The East African Legislative Assembly has passed the Tourism and Wildlife Management Bill paving way for an establishment of a Joint Tourism Board for the community.

This private member’s bill presented by MP Safina Kwekwe (Kenya) during the third meeting of the third session of the second East African Legislative is also aimed at creating an East African Tourism and Wildlife Commission that would coordinate the management of Tourism and Wildlife amongst the partner states.

In an interview with Trek East Africa, Kwekwe said, “The bill is about enabling an environment where marketing and promotion of tourism activities can be done jointly by all partner states. It also aims at setting standards for the tourism industry in the region by enhancing capacity building,” she added.

The Commission will promote cultural tourism, wildlife management, guarantee Intellectual property rights protection and coordinate the marketing and promotion of tourism in East Africa as a single tourism destination.

Wild animals wander across the East African borders, there for it is imperative that the community manages wildlife together.

Kate Kamba (Tanzania) said the region was endowed with enormous natural resources, whose management is burdened by bureaucracy among the member countries.

Hon. George Francis Nangale (Tanzania) on his part said that the passing of the bill is yet another milestone to EALA in its efforts to coordinate East African Partner States towards the management of the tourism industry in the region.

Kwekwe, the legislator from Kenya added, that "For East Africa to be a single tourism destination there will be need for harmonizing tourism policies and having the same incentives for tourists across the region".

She says the Bill will bring an end to contradictions in Tourism policies within member states.

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